BY RAUL HERNANDEZ
Donald Trump might break his pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 84-year-old heart this week.
The Maricopa County Sheriff, who is the self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America,” is infamous for his ruthless and illegal treatment of illegal immigrants, targeting people who look foreign but have committed no crime.
Thursday, Trump announced that he will overhaul or scrape his plan to put 11 million foreigners in the U.S. without legal papers on buses, trains and planes heading south.
Trump is expected to unravel his new and improved immigration policy that could include legalizing millions of illegal immigrants in this country, according to published reports.
This would be a complete reversal to his deportation plan, a monumental pivot.
Arpaio and Judge Snow
Arpaio’s days of riding the range looking for illegal immigrants unabated were rocked Friday by a federal judge who is not pleased that the sheriff thumbed his nose at court orders in connection with a 2007 racial profiling case.
For years, Arpaio has used the U.S. Constitution as a doormat and refused to cooperate in a federal investigation of his jail.
In 2008, Arpaio told the Department of Justice to “bring it on” when the feds announced they were investigating racial profiling and civil rights violations. But he withheld records and ordered his staff not to cooperate with federal officials.
Friday, a federal judge pulled Arpaio’s number and recommended that prosecutors bring criminal contempt charges against him.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow also urged criminal contempt charges against Arpaio’s alleged crime partners — second-in-command, Gerard Sheridan, along with Maricopa County Sheriff’s Captain Steve Bailey and an Arpaio attorney, Michele Iafrate.
Thursday, the federal government publicly unfurled its blistering report against Arpaio.
It mapped out how Arpaio has committed wholesale civil rights violations by targeting Hispanics, including a pattern of racial profiling and discrimination along with carrying out “heavy-handed” immigration patrols based on “racially charged citizen complaints.”
It appears that there are many “racially charged citizens” in Arizona.
Arizona didn’t want to adopt Martin Luther King Day as a holiday.
It was the second to the last state to adopt MLK Day. Then, Gov. Evan Mecham didn’t support the holiday, and the voters in 1990 agreed with the governor.
That has cost the state more than $200 million as a result of MLK boycotts. In 1991, Arizona was thrust in the national spotlight when the National Football League pulled the Super Bowl out of Tempe. Finally, voters approved the holiday in November 1992, making Arizona the only state that put it to a vote.
Arpaio has been in office since 1992. The controversial sheriff was re-elected in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012. His days in office have been mark by one controversy after another.
This is some of Arpaio’s work and accomplishments while sheriff:
- Arpaio had 2,700 law suits filed against him between 2004 and 2007.
- As of September 2015, cases involving Arpaio or his office have cost Maricopa County taxpayers $142 million in legal expenses, settlements, and court awards, according to a report in the Arizona Republic newspaper.
- In addition to the Department of Justice, Congress, the FBI and a Federal Grand Jury have investigated Arpaio for civil rights violations and abuse of power.
- Arpaio is also known for his investigation of Barack Obama‘s birth certificate, and his continuing claim that it is forged.
- Throughout his tenure, Arpaio has sought out media coverage. He has been featured and profiled by worldwide news media. In late 2008 and early 2009, Arpaio was featured in Smile…You’re Under Arrest!, a three-episode Fox Reality Channel series.
- During a three-year period ending in 2007, more than 400 sex-crimes reported to Arpaio’s office were inadequately investigated, or not investigated at all, according to the Phoenix New Times
- An analysis by the Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget, completed in April 2011, found Arpaio had misspent almost $100 million over the previous 5 years
On June 4, 2014, the Phoenix New Times reported the unthinkable. Arpaio began an investigation against Judge Snow as well as the Department of Justice.
The article quoted unnamed sources, including a former detective with Arpaio’s Special Investigations Division, who claimed that the investigation was being run by Arpaio, and was based on his belief that Judge Snow and the DOJ had engaged in a conspiracy against him, according to published reports.
Routine Constitutional Rights Violations
Arpaio is best known for cramming detained immigrants, defendants and convicted inmates, mostly Hispanics, into his outdoors “tent cities” and making them wear pink underwear to humiliate them.
According to a 2009 Maricopa County Sheriff’s press release, 220 immigrants were transferred to a “Tent City” surrounded by electrified fencing. “This is a population of criminals more adept perhaps at escape,” Arpaio stated in the press release. “But this is a fence they won’t want to scale because they risk receiving a shock – literally.”
In 2008 and 2010, federal judges ruled that Arpaio routinely violated the constitutional rights of inmates.
The federal ruling was a result of a lawsuit by the ACLU, which alleged that “Arpaio routinely abused pre-trial detainees at Maricopa County Jail by feeding them moldy bread, rotten fruit and other contaminated food, housing them in cells so hot as to endanger their health, denying them care for serious medical and mental health needs and keeping them packed as tightly as sardines in holding cells for days at a time during intake.“
In the case of Braillard v. Maricopa County, the plaintiff’s cited numerous reports paid for by Maricopa county, dating back as far as 1996, detailing a “culture of cruelty” where inmates are routinely denied humane healthcare at Maricopa County jails run by Arpaio.
Testifying in that case, Arpaio said he could not deny making the statement that even if he had a billion dollars he wouldn’t change the way he runs his jails, according to published reports.
Trump and Arpaio
The sheriff is a big supporter and has endorsed Donald Trump. He spoke at the Republican Party’s Convention last month. Many Republican candidates love to be seen with sheriff and get his endorsement.
Arpaio at the convention talked about the dangers of an unsecured border.
During more than two decades in office, Arpaio reelection was a calk-walk. But all that has recently changed. He currently is trailing Democrat Paul Penzone by a slight margin, according to polling by Lincoln Strategy Group, a Tempe-based Republican political firm.
Arpaio got 42 percent of the respondents, compared with 45 percent supporting Penzone. But 14 percent of voters were undecided, and they swung largely to Penzone when asked to make a choice, according to Lincoln Strategy Group.
Driving Through Arizona
When I drive through Arizona, I stop long enough to fill up my gas tank to get out of that state. It’s not because I am scared of redneck justice. That has absolutely nothing to do with it.
It’s that I don’t want to spend a dime more than I have to in a state that keeps reelecting an aging bigot and media whore as sheriff, and who also elected an ignorant female governor, Jan Brewer, who wagged her finger at the president of the United States.
Why would anyone spend time in a state that allows a lawless racist to wear a gun and a badge to inflict his brand of terror and cruelty on others and to make a mockery of the law and the U.S. Constitution?
(CNN Interview August 22, 2016)
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