Skip to content

Arlington NAACP mulls legal steps over concerns about county jail

Members agree to hire an attorney in search for additional documentation of deaths

Arlington’s NAACP branch is upping in the ante in its efforts to gather more information about inmate deaths at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Members of the civil-rights group voted May 20 to hire an attorney to provide advice and take court action, if necessary, to force the Sheriff’s Office and county government to provide more information about the deaths.

“There is no fight that we will not stray from in the pursuit of justice,” Arlington NAACP chair Michael Hemminger said at the meeting.

He said linking up with an attorney was the logical next step.

“We have done everything that we can possibly do besides taking legal action to obtain some of the records we need to pursue that justice,” Hemminger said at the body’s meeting, held online.

The measure to spend funds on an attorney passed without opposition.

The organization has already written to the U.S. Department of Justice, demanding an investigation of jail conditions and the in-custody deaths.

The issue of inmate deaths was a major topic in the spring-of-2023 Democratic primary for sheriff. In that race, Jose Quiroz – who had been appointed to the post several months before, after the retirement of incumbent Beth Arthur – defeated challengers Wanda Younger, who was extremely critical of jail operations, and James Herring.

Quiroz won the race, but it was far from a landslide: He garnered just under 40 percent of the vote to 33.5 percent for Younger and 27 percent for Herring.

Quiroz, who was serving as chief deputy to Arthur when he was appointed to the post by the Circuit Court in January 2023, then was unopposed in the November 2023 general election.