NAACP asks for civil rights investigation of Arlington County jail

The Arlington County, Virginia, jail is the subject of a civil rights complaint by the Arlington Branch of the NAACP.

The civil rights agency wrote a letter Monday to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division asking for an investigation into the patterns and practices at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

In its letter, the NAACP alleges that seven “Black and brown men” — all detainees at the facility — have died in the past seven years because they were denied adequate medical and mental health care.

The detention facility is operated by the Office of Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur.

The letter said three of the seven men have died while in custody since October 2020. Those include Paul Thompson, 41, a Black man who was homeless and had substance and mental health challenges who died last month; Claude Spencer, 58, a Black man who died Oct. 6 in the jail’s medical unit; and Darryl Becton, who died in his cell Oct. 1, 2020. Becton’s death was attributed to hypertensive cardiovascular disease complicated by opiate withdrawal.

Becton’s sister filed a $10 million lawsuit last week against medical workers and members of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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