Wednesday, April 25, 2012

America’s toughest Sheriff Arizona’s Joe Arpaio…not so tough anymore?

Joe Arpaio: The people elected me
For two decades one of the biggest foes of illegal immigrants in the Grand Canyon State may be ending his law enforcement career with a whimper.  Along with his best buddy, former State Sen. Russell Pearce, he could also be voted out of office in November.  Pearce was dumped due to his radical views on immigration, and the same issue could be Arpaio’s undoing.  But the Sheriff is taking his regular arrogant stand indicating the people put him in office.

That arrogance could easily be shoved down his throat in the 2012 election if the “people” decide they are fed up with him too.  But Randy Parraz, the community activist responsible for getting rid of Pearce says, “The groundswell of people coming out protesting, we haven’t seen.  Anywhere else with this kind of stuff, he wouldn’t survive.  So true!  In Arizona they love their conservatives who, for the most part can do no harm.  But they did finally get fed up with Russell Pearce.

Arpaio will do anything for publicity.  Along with his immigration sweeps, he recently appointed a special volunteer cold-case posse to investigate Barack Obama’s birth certificate…AGAIN.  The Sheriff then reported that they had found probable cause to believe that the long-form birth certificate released by the White House last April was a computer-generated forgery.  Randy Parraz commented, “He retaliates against his critics.”

Sheriff Arpaio's Tent city

The group Citizens for a Better Arizona has been working against Sheriff Joe for some time now and recently asked former high-ranking officials from the state and local level about their impressions of Arpaio.  They are former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.  They came up with the following assessment:

“The men say their goal was to remove the politics and talk facts. They see those facts as years of the sheriff's abuse of power that have caused the state and city of Phoenix time and money and hurt its reputation.”  The $ figure is $300 million.  The damage to Arizona’s reputation is well known from the ridicule it has taken nation-wide.

Arpaio’s supporters have continued toppling since Russell Pearce. 

The latest is former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas who was disbarred April 10, “…for engaging in unethical conduct to intimidate and smear his and Arpaio’s political adversaries.”  A salon article reports that “…a three-member Arizona state Supreme Court disciplinary panel supporting the disbarment ruling also concluded there was ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Thomas had violated federal civil rights laws.”

Arpaio and Andrew Thomas

The Salon piece continues, “While Thomas, a Republican, has not been criminally charged, the opinion made it crystal clear that his unethical and allegedly illegal conduct was the result of his ‘unholy collaboration’ with Arpaio, also a Republican, to use their law enforcement powers to retaliate against critics.” This is powerful stuff for the Sheriff’s November opponents to take to the election but still may not convince some of his fanatical followers
However, there’s more.  Salon continues, “The Supreme Court panel’s opinion stated that evidence indicated Arpaio had conspired with Thomas and Aubuchon to file the charges against the judge and two supervisors.”  Lisa Aubuchon is a former assistant prosecutor for Thomas who was also disbarred.  Still not enough?  Well, former Governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has also withdrawn her support.

The Young Turks on Sheriff Arpaio:
One of the worst accusations against Arpaio is his department’s handling of more than 400 sex-crimes cases.  The New York Times reports, “His deputies failed to investigate or conducted only the sketchiest of inquiries into hundreds of sex crimes between 2005 and 2007, investigations by Arizona law enforcement agencies have shown. Many of those cases involved molested children.”  Arpaio responded, “If there were any victims, I apologize to those victims.”  “If”???  

Also important and certainly not forgotten is the demise and ultimate firing of the Sheriff’s longtime chief deputy David Hendershott who was a part of Arpaio’s campaign finance scandal which is yet another federal criminal investigation.  Arpaio is also being investigated by the feds for civil rights violations.  According to the Overthrow Arpaio movement, “Hundreds of current sheriff's office employees have expressed a vote of no confidence in Sheriff Arpaio.”

But there is one thing sheriff Joe Arpaio should be commended for and that is his devotion to helping animals through his no-kill shelter MASH, the old Maricopa County First Avenue Jail converted to an animal shelter which is air conditioned.  It has been confirmed that the deputies’ care of these misplaced pets is great.  But is that enough to get America’s toughest Sheriff reelected?  The “people” will decide in November.

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