House Judiciary Cuffs Joe Arpaio, The Most Abusive Sheriff In America

You have probably heard of the shamelessly self professed "Toughest Sheriff in America", Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. For years he has been making a PR spectacle of himself, all the while running an unconstitutionally deplorable jail system, letting inmates die under tortuous conditions, and violating the civil rights and liberties of everybody in sight, especially minorities. Today, the House Judiciary Committee made public a critical and public step to rein in the Most Abusive Sheriff In America.

From the HJC press release:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) called on Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to investigate allegations of misconduct by Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Arpaio has repeatedly demonstrated disregard for the rights of Hispanics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Under the guise of immigration enforcement, his staff has conducted raids in residential neighborhoods in a manner condemned by the community as racial profiling. On February 4, 2009, Arpaio invited the media to view the transfer of immigrant detainees to a segregated area of his "tent city" jail, subjecting the detainees to public display and "ritual humiliation." Persistent actions such as these have resulted in numerous lawsuits; while Arpaio spends time and energy on publicity and his reality television show, "Smile… You’re Under Arrest!", Maricopa County has paid millions of dollars in settlements involving dead or injured inmates.

It is time for the federal government to step in and uphold the rule of law in this country, even in Maricopa County."

"Law enforcement is not a game or a reality show, it is a public trust," said Scott. "There is no excuse for callous indifference to the rights of the residents of Arizona, whether in their neighborhoods or as pretrial detainees."

The full official text of the letter to Napolitano and Holder is here.

It is high time that somebody on the national scene notice, and the Federal government take action on, the egregious and violative conduct of Joe Arpaio.

Joe Arpaio is a two bit carnival barker and huckster, not a dedicated law enforcement official. The opportunistic man came into office running against a fellow Republican and incumbent Maricopa County Sheriff, Tom Agnos, by bad mouthing Agnos and arguing that the entire Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department needed to be cleaned up. In fact, Arpaio’s winning campaign was predicated upon his willingness to mock the very department he was running to lead and promise to expose the dirty laundry of Agnos and the Sheriff’s Department for its involvement in the infamous Buddhist Temple Murder case (link is a fascinating three part story), a seminal case in textbooks on coerced confessions (from the fact that four separate coerced false confessions were obtained to a single crime). Arpaio promised to restore honor to the department, and also swore he would serve only one term in office. Five terms and seventeen years later, Arpaio has failed miserably on both promises.

The upshot of the House Judiciary Committee’s missive to Attorney General Holder and DHS Secretary Napolitano is that Arpaio’s:

…repeated course of conduct, which values publicity opportunities over the civil rights of residents of Arizona, is too disturbing to leave enforcement of the civil rights laws to private litigants. There are several tools at the federal government’s disposal to address these allegations, and we urge their prompt consideration and application.

In short, the HJC is demanding that a full panoply of federal civil and criminal laws and remedies be brought to bear by the arms of federal law enforcement. One of the grounds for the HJC demand is Arpaio’s acts earlier this month, described in the letter as follows:

Most recently, on February 4, after making sure to alert the media, Arpaio reportedly paraded approximately 200 suspected illegal immigrants in shackles to a segregated area of his "tent city" county facility, where they will supposedly remain until they are adjudicated and have served any sentences they face for local violations. The New York Times described this conduct as "ritual humiliation." The men who Arpaio is displaying like trophies are reportedly in pretrial detention, not having been convicted of any crime.

If you want to understand the true extent of Sheriff Joe’s war on brown people, the Phoenix New Times’ expose "Guadalupe Made It Clear That Joe Arpaio’s Attacking Anyone With Brown Skin" is an absolute must read. Seriously, it is a long piece, but to call it chilling and important would be an understatement, and it is superb start to finish. Here is a taste:

With spirited protesters and helmeted deputies on horseback, the night of April 3 in Guadalupe was like some historical reenactment, albeit in miniature, of a late-’60s anti-war melee. You know, the kind chronicled by Norman Mailer in one of his seminal "non-fiction novels" of the era, such as Miami and the Siege of Chicago or The Armies of the Night.

Following up on his criticism of Arpaio during a César Chávez luncheon in March, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon addressed a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking for an investigation of the sheriff. The letter was dated April 4, the second day of the MCSO’s Guadalupe sweep, and the MCSO’s actions in Guadalupe figured prominently in the missive.

Egregious to be sure, but hardly the only such acts by Arpaio, and certainly not the worst. Let’s go through some of the others alluded to in the letter, although not described in detail.

Arpaio was little more than halfway through his first term in office when his policies and jail conditions first came under investigation for abuse by the US Department of Justice. Shortly after that, and still during his first term in office, young Scott Norberg died in Arpaio’s jail as a result of said policies:

[Norberg] was in Arpaio’s jail just 15 hours before he was handcuffed by guards, kicked, stomped on, and then strapped into a restraint chair. There, guards held a towel over his head, literally suffocating him. Medical records later revealed that he had been shot with a stun gun at least 14 times and beaten so badly that his larynx cracked.

That one cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County $8.25 million, but did not deter the Most Abusive Sheriff in America; instead, he seemed to get off on the notoriety. There were more unnatural deaths in Arpaio’s jails, from a variety of causes, after Norberg. The belligerent Arpaio finally stopped the deplorable use of the restraint chair in 2006 after fighting demands by citizens and federal overseers on the issue for nearly a decade.

What caused Arpaio to finally give up his demonic obsession with the restraint chair that killed Scott Norberg? Ah, glad you asked:

On March 29, 2006, a $9 million court judgment was leveled against Arpaio and the county in the beating and restraint-chair death of inmate Charles Agster III.

Agster, 33 and mentally retarded, was arrested for trespassing on August 6, 2001. Detention officers at the Madison Street Jail pulled a hood over his head and slammed him into a medieval-looking restraint chair. The hood around Agster’s throat smothered him to the point that he became brain dead. He was pronounced legally dead three days later on August 9, 2001.

Agster’s death should have been prevented. Two years before he was killed, the county had paid $8.25 million to settle the Norberg suffocation suit.

There was at least one more death at the restraints of Arpaio’s cherished chair, Clint Yarborough in 2005. It should be noted that neither Norberg, Agster, nor Yarbrough were ever tried or convicted for the charges they were arrested on; none of them lived to see their first court date and died innocent men under the law. Those are just the deaths associated with the medieval restraint chair, there have been numerous deaths from improper or complete lack of medical care, neglect and other perils.

One of the other examples of the decrepit conditions Arpaio presided over is that of Kathleen Carey:

Like most attorneys, Kathleen Carey leads a busy life. So she didn’t take much time to examine what looked like a pimple on her arm. Twelve days later, Carey’s arm had ballooned to nearly twice its normal size, and pus was oozing from a boil where the zit had been.

After $180,000 in medical bills, four doctors, and two hospitals, Carey learned that the supposed pimple was actually the flesh-eating "superbug" bacteria commonly known as MRSA staph infection. You may recognize MRSA from recent news reports, following a study concluding that more Americans die each year from antibiotic-resistant MRSA infections than from HIV/AIDS.

MRSA commonly spreads through hospitals, but Carey hadn’t been to a hospital or doctor for months before her infection. So where did she get the potentially fatal infection?

Carey says she knows exactly where she got it — the Maricopa County Jail. She wasn’t there as an inmate, but as an attorney visiting her client.

Carey is one of many Maricopa County residents who’ve never been booked into Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jails but who are paying dearly for conditions inside his lockups.

Vermin, filth, medical care suggestive of POW camps, chronic mismanagement, the wanton destruction of records, and a steady parade of corpses in Maricopa County jails have cost taxpayers an astonishing — and until now, undisclosed — 41.4 million dollars.

Don’t know if you caught that or not, but that is nearly $42 million dollars (and that was as of over a year ago, the figure is now higher) that Maricopa County has paid out due to the Most Abusive Sheriff in America’s detention policies and procedures. Want to know how that compares to other big municipalities? Get a load of this:

There simply isn’t another jail system in America with this history of taxpayer-financed litigation.

New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston, for example, collectively housed more than 61,000 inmates per day last year. From 2004 through November of this year, these same county jails had a combined 43 prison-conditions lawsuits filed against them in federal courts.

In the very same three-year time frame, despite housing a mere 9,200 prisoners per day, Sheriff Arpaio was the target of a staggering 2,150 lawsuits in U.S. District Court and hundreds more in Maricopa County courts.

With a fraction of the inmate population, Arpaio has had 50 times as many lawsuits as the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston jail systems combined.

But Sheriff Joe’s reign of terror does not end with the immigrant bashing and inhuman detention policies and facilities. When the Most Abusive Sheriff in America disagrees with colleagues, even fellow police officers, he attacks them with not only rhetoric, but the heavy dark hand of his department:

The sheriff raided municipal buildings in Mesa in what appeared to be nothing more than a blatant political maneuver against Arpaio’s perceived enemy, Mesa Police Chief George Gascón.

As a public safety effort, the pre-dawn October 16 incursion into Mesa City Hall and its library was laughable — it netted just three undocumented workers. A couple of former county Superior Court judges criticized Arpaio’s action in the East Valley Tribune, with former chief judge of the court Colin Campbell calling the raid "bizarre" and "extraordinary."

Last, but far from least, Sheriff Joe has waged a jihad against the local investigative weekly newspaper in Phoenix/Maricopa County, the Phoenix New Times. Arpaio long felt the New Times coverage of him was too strident; not content to address his concerns in the media and public sphere, Arpaio arrested the publishers, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, on trumped up asinine charges (that were almost immediately dismissed without ever seeing the light of a courtroom). However, if you cherish the First Amendment and the freedom of the press, Larkin and Lacey’s arrests by Arpaio were not even the worst part.

In a breathtaking abuse of the United States Constitution, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and their increasingly unhinged cat’s paw, special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik, used the grand jury to subpoena "all documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present."

Every note, tape, and record from every story written about Sheriff Arpaio by every reporter over a period of years.

In addition to the omnibus subpoena, which referred to our writer Stephen Lemons directly, reporters John Dougherty and Paul Rubin were targeted with individual subpoenas.

More alarming still, Arpaio, Thomas, and Wilenchik subpoenaed detailed information on anyone who has looked at the New Times Web site since 2004.

Every individual who looked at any story, review, listing, classified, or retail ad over a period of years.

The article the passage immediately above was quoted from, "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution", was written personally by the two publishers, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, and is as chilling as was Arpaio’s attempt to silence them. Again, it is a feature length article, but a serious must read.

This post could easily be three or four times the already tedious length and still not have room to touch on the bill of craven particulars against the Most Abusive Sheriff in America, Joe Arpaio. But it is a start, and renders an idea as to why Chairman Conyers, Representative Nadler and the others on the House Judiciary Committee have requested the civil and criminal powers of the United States Government be brought to bear on Joe Arpaio. He isn’t the toughest, he’s the most abusive. It is imperative that Attorney General Holder and DHS Secretary Napolitano heed the call and address the long overdue matter. Secretary Napolitano, of all people, ought to understand the menace to society as a whole, and the citizenry of Maricopa County in particular, that Arpaio poses. It is time for it to be stopped.

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66 replies
  1. manys says:

    yeah, he’s no good. there was a pretty big article in Harper’s about a decade ago, when he started doing the pink underwear thing.

  2. Loo Hoo. says:

    I want to visit little Guadalupe.

    At the heart of La Cuarenta, on the dirt and gravel plaza, are two main houses of worship, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and the Yaqui Temple, sometimes referred to as Santa Lucia or just El Templo. The adobe structures, with their eggshell-white exteriors, mirror and complement each other. The Mission-style Our Lady of Guadalupe boasts simple stained-glass windows, creaky, wooden pews, and a charming cupola situated behind towers topped by crosses. Santa Lucia is more mysterious, with a Mission-style exterior, an open, dirt-floor interior, strewn with flower petals, and a back altar crowded with candles and effigies of saints, including the ersatz head of John the Baptist — on a platter no less.

  3. BooRadley says:

    Thanks bmaz.

    With sadists like this, I always wonder if there isn’t an underlying extortion scheme. Grease the Sheriff’s friends or you’ll get arrested.

  4. PAR4 says:

    Wow. I believe there are some sections of the country that need to be put under martial law.If they are incapable of participating in a democracy their rights should be stripped and a Governor appointed to rule over them.

  5. slide says:

    One would wonder why Napolitano did nothing about this guy while governor. There are similar cases of deaths in the state correctional system. Where was Napolitano on the state correctional problems. Is she really the right person to be investigating? Also where was the justice department all these years? This situtation should have been arrested years ago.

  6. azportsider says:

    Thanks, bmaz. And you didn’t even get to his Caribbean conferences. The worst of it, IMO, is that some of the people who have died in Arpaio’s custody hadn’t been convicted of anything at all. They were pretrial detainees who couldn’t make bail.

    But the morons in Sun City loves them some Arpaio. They think he’s protecting them from the brown scourge.

  7. AZ Matt says:

    I ead Montini’s comments esterday after this came out. He is of the opinion this won’t affect Joker very much. I hope he is wrong.

  8. AZ Matt says:

    The realities of governing are sinking into AZ Governor Jan Brewer.

    Governor may put a tax hike to the voters

    Faced with a sliding economy and deepening state deficit, Gov. Jan Brewer’s office is quietly making plans for a spring special election at which voters would be asked to raise taxes and loosen spending mandates on certain state programs, The Arizona Republic has learned.

    The wingnuts are going throug the roof in Phoenix this morning.

  9. R.H. Green says:

    It would be interesting to find out what “tools” of the federal kind that Napalotano now has that she didn’t have as govenor, when this was going on right under her nose.

    • bmaz says:

      She has a ton more, and more powerful, tools available; the more interesting thing will be to see how she uses them. She did several things to fight Arpaio while governor, including defunding some of his bad racial profiling programs where she could and also supported Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon’s fight against Arpaio. However, she really was nowhere near as strong or as active as she should have been and could have been against him. In fact, in her first election, she downright sucked up to him and apologized for him, which gave him uncalled for cover. She did this several times where she really should not have. Personally, I think she hates the dude, but was somewhat cravenly doing what she had to do to get elected. In the early election, she probably had to to win. Was she in the tank corrupt with Arpaio, no; certainly has been no profile in courage though.

      It will be very interesting to see what she does now, and how that relates to whether or not she eventually comes back to Arizona to run for McCain’s seat. I tend to think right now that she isn’t coming back for that the next time he is up, which is 2010. That would mean she is going to be in Washington for a while and she may show some more guts against Arpaio. I just want folks to know that as putrid as Arpaio is, he gets elected routinely with 60% or more of the vote. There is a huge ignorant wingnut base in Maricopa County. It is improving away from that, but still has a long way to go. Napolitano was a HUGE net plus for the state in her service in government in spite of her weakness on Arpaio. It would have been awfully bleak without her.

      • phred says:

        This is shocking bmaz. Given all the civil litigation, why have there been no criminal complaints against those who committed these murders, including the guy who approved them?

        Also, what is the process from removing a criminal country sheriff from office? Who has jurisdiction in this case? Are there no remedies available within the state? Is the federal government the only recourse here? I have to say that if there are state avenues open, this is a huge indictment of Napolitano as governor.

        • bmaz says:

          Short of a voter recall, which given his popular support among the mindless wingnuts is impossible, there really is not a remedy without criminal action. Keep in mind that the county attorneys during Arpaio’s tenure have all been solid Republicans, one of whom was scared or Arpaio and the current one of which is the execrable Andrew Thomas, who is Arpaio’s best friend and fellow wingnut brown hater, so there has been no help there. It has been up to the
          feds and for the last eight years at least, the Bushies loved the guy. And here we are.

          • phred says:

            Thanks bmaz, I appreciate the follow-up. There was discussion awhile back in Massachusetts about getting rid of county government offices in order to reduce redundancy and save money. Perhaps there is also an argument to be made about accountability as well. In these tough economic times, maybe AZ should look into eliminating county offices (including sheriff!) and bring those jails under state administration instead.

      • viejolex1 says:

        She not only sucked up to him, but she has also demeaned undocumented people on too many occasions to count. At this point, you would be surprised at how many Chicanos took her elevation to homeland security as an affront. Along with his continued support for the wall and his love affair with the bankers and Wall Street crowd, Obama’s support among us brownies is eroding, but fast.

        • bmaz says:

          I understand your point, but you would be a whole heck of a lot worse off if she had not been around; the alternatives were bleak. And had she not played it the way she did, she would not have been for the most part although not totally, in position to do the good she did. And I say that as someone that is here and on your side.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Nice piece of work. For context, what have the residents, prosecutors, government and party of his county and state failed to do that now requires the Feds to intervene?

  11. WilliamOckham says:

    Every time I get depressed thinking my home state (Texas) has a monopoly on tinhorn psuedo-fascists, bmaz does an Arpaio post to cheer me up by reminding me that other states produce them, too. Oh well, I can continue to be depressed by the fact that we do better job of exporting ours to do damage to the whole world.

    • DWBartoo says:

      Here, in Penn’ Woods, WO, in Luzerene County, we have two state judges who made several million in ‘kick-backs’ by sending juveniles to a private facility, after ‘hearings’ which lasted two to three minutes and allowed no legal representation for the young people … to the County’s credit, the ‘people’ are outraged … and the judges are to receive seven years … which hardly seem sufficient.

      Definitely time for some meaningful ‘change’.

  12. JohnJ says:

    This reminds me of when I used to sit at the bar listening to other people’s problems; it made mine seem insignificant (great therapy).

    I thought FL’s corporate ownership made this state one of the most corrupt.

    Florida seems kinda’ tame now.

  13. Blub says:

    Arpaio once kept an otherwise innocent TB quarantinee in solitary confinement for 8 months without access to a TV, PC or reading materials, a shower, or even reliable access to counsel.

    Since this is McCain land, what does the maverick say to this thug?

    • bmaz says:

      McCain is like Napolitano, although since he is a Republican, it is not quite as touchy. There is no advantage for McCain to take on the popular with wingnuts Arpaio, so McCain doesn’t. As I have said over and over, the ONLY thing in the world that McCain cares about is McCain. There is nothing in it for McCain so he doesn’t give a shit.

  14. cosanostradamus says:

    .
    What kinda name is Arpaio? Is he profiling his own people? How do you say “Oreo” in Spanish? Come to think of it, what kinda name is “Oreo”?

    New Mexico, Colorado & Nevada are getting liberalized by Blue State migrants & good old reality. Wonder if AZ will ever grow up?

    Everybody should watch Joss Whedon’s new show, “Dollhouse.” Last night’s premiere is available free online. Eliza Dushku (Faith from “Buffy”) is totally nekkid the whole time. It’s awesome. Man, them Albanian chicks! Woo-hoo!
    .

  15. SanderO says:

    Arpaio is clearly someone who needs to be removed from his position of power. But that’s been apparent for years and he has been revealed for the nasty that he is on several TV broadcasts.

    Why doesn’t someone(s) do anything about him?

  16. azygous says:

    For all practical purposes, Charles Manson and his gang weren’t any more criminally shocking than Arpaio and his department of murderous and torturing thugs. But the same crime when a politician commits it is somehow not a crime. How can a culture be this blind?

  17. Sharkbabe says:

    I’ve been reading about this piece of filth Arapaio for years.

    Rush Limba with a badge, empowered by lizard brain fear. A serious fucking matter.

    Tell me where to show up, to take this cancerous fucker down. It is so past time.

    • Dru says:

      Rush Limba with a badge, empowered by lizard brain fear.
      __________

      And fueled nightly by Loud Obbs and his posse of haters.

  18. katymine says:

    Last year on one of my trips to NYC, I was waiting at the airport gate for my flight and guess who was there with a gaggle of fans (yes he has them) old Sheriff Joe. He was flying to NYC. All I could do is stand there and say “fascist” while others looked at me funny. Had to call one of my friends to do an intervention before I did something stupid.

    Old Joe went on early, I am an elite flyer…. as I went down the aisle, found him in aisle row 4 just behind first class, old threadbare suit, dandruff all over him, greasy hair ….. and I am several inches taller than him….. and I’m only 5′6″.

    He is an evil bastard

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      and I am several inches taller than him….. and I’m only 5′6″.

      He is an evil bastard

      An Evil little Troll! Probably lives under a bridge we need some Billy Goats with older brothers.

  19. acquarius74 says:

    bmaz, in the old grade B Saturday Westerns when I was a kid, Black Bart was always in the employ of the greedy rich man (usually the smooth talkin’ Banker). Until The Man In The White Hat rose up or rode in, the little people were threatened, intimidated, lost their property and/or were gunned down.

    So it will remain in Maricopa County (and lots of other places) until the Lone Stranger comes to the rescue. Now-a-days Black Bart wears a 3 piece suit and tie with his boots, and has usurped the white Stetson. (read TX senator).

    WO, as a 4th generation Texan, I grieve with you.

    • bmaz says:

      Crikey, Napolitano was as close to a white hat as there has been here, and she wore it pretty well. Except as to Arpaio….

      We need em, but I don’t know where they are.

      • acquarius74 says:

        bmaz, I may be out of line here in asking you to do this, would you put on your white Stetson and look in over at Oxdown? There’s a peculiar diary there entitled, terrorist attacks may be imminent. Many of the links he gives are to members of the neocon group, Santorum. The only comment is by the author.

        Thanks.

  20. leinie says:

    The wingnuts LOVE this guy. I get e-mail chain letters about how awesome he is, with his common sense response to not babying criminals and protecting America. Pretty damned nauseating.

    • Blub says:

      Like I’ve said before, the rethugs have become the first political party in modern times to publicly embrace the legitimation of torture as a core platform theme. ..well, on second thought, there might be an exception somewere on the Arabian peninsula, but close enough… many people and countries torture, but just about no one ever publicly supports torture, much less runs for office on it. Torture – the rethug panacea.

  21. katymine says:

    Guadalupe is a short distance from my house and a route I take when the freeway is plugged up…… the first time I drove through it with my kids one asked “are we still in America”….. It is very sad as this is our 9th Ward.

    During the 2008 Campaign Arpio’s campaign and surrogates were up to some really nasty things. A super secret group donated big bucks to put out an ad about Dan Saban which was ALL lies and so sleazily that two Republican district chairs resigned if the GOP did not pull the ads. Then Old joe was targeting any FEC donor to Saban, funny how they had more traffic stops, followed by sheriff cars. One local news anchor did a story about Joe and suddenly her adopted daughter from Honduras kept getting traffic stops and having to prove that she was a citizen….. an ASU student!

    This whole thing is a trifecta …
    1. Sheriff Joe and his goons
    2. Andrew Thomas that is just as crooked
    3. Repug County Supervisors who do NOT audit or reign in Arpaio at all…. lets him run ruff shod over everything….

    In 2006 the Sheriff office arrested the adult son of Jim Pederson who was running against Jon Kyl senate race……. big photo op and hoopla and funny how they stepped all over the Phoenix police department and their jurisdiction….. AND all charges were dropped but they got what they wanted…….

    • ThingsComeUndone says:

      Funny the economy goes down and Hispanics are the scapegoat. Its funny hoe Lou Dobbs went from hosting a business show to after 9/11 hosting a new show new name but suddenly it was anti Hispanic,
      Glen Beck started appearing on CNN around the same time I think this was pre that nationwide march for rights Hispanics did.
      Sheriff Joe, the MinuteMen it all seems to orchestrated don’t blame the Corporations for the loss in WW1 economy blame the Jews Hispanics.
      If the GOP keeps this up they trade Florida for how many small states?
      The electoral math is interesting. Increased Hispanic voting Nationwide because of Sheriff Joe, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, the Minute Men etc sure didn’t help McCain
      Nor did Sarah speaking Code about Real America

  22. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Just when does Sheriff Joe’s actions stop being covered as just part of the job by the government? I think him getting personally sued might be the only way to stop him.
    That and putting him behind bars.

  23. katymine says:

    Another egregious thing is that to Joe no one is innocent until convicted…… this harsh treatment, tent city, rotten food are for those waiting trial who either are not allowed bail or cannot come up with bail…….

  24. JohnLopresti says:

    It’s probably twenty years since I spent time in Cochise county of sufficient duration to immerse in regional political news, though AZ certainly has made the national news in its eccentric election law sallies since. Maricopa is the population center key to state politics, so, larger than merely one county in its effect on government.

    It seems I remember Arpaio’s involvement in the 80s or 90s with a youth rehab outfit, some kind of funding competition at the time with several NGOs, which I recall only slightly now. I wonder if there is more about that online. This is a separate topic from the ethnic issue, but youth in AZ are exposed to the code of the wilde west early.

  25. jaango says:

    DWBartoo, it’s good to ’see’ you again. We seem to be tripping over each other and of late.

    To understand politics in Maricopa County and metropolitan Phoenix, the historical and probable analogy is of Roosevelt’s New Deal. For the Right, their history is one for the considerable affectation and the effectiveness of the heretofore, ’skill set’ from the John Bircher’s of the 1950’s. And this is the Right’s epiphany of politics in Arizona. The late Senator Barry Goldwater crafted, along with Del E. Webb, the retirement community called Sun City, and which was marketed and sold nationally, and specifically, to only Republicans at its inception. And the eventual out growth for these typical politics was the Phoenix Forty, and which was later disbanded, and continues to re-morph. To wit, the Right controlled the politics, and they were quite blatant in their behavior, both in public and in private.

    And as an aside, a County Supervisor, got drunk at his own fundraiser, gave a speech in which he advocated that ‘the poor were a burden to society and a disincentive to prosperity, and consequently, they should be put up against a wall and shot to death.’ I know this is an outrageous story, but actually true. The county supervisor got elected and shortly thereafter, he became the chairman of the board of supervisors. This spurred the two leaders in the State Senate, the late Burton Barr, for the Republicans, and Alfredo Gutierrez the Democrats, to ‘offer’ the new chairman a lucrative state transportation contract to landscape the state highway system. Of course, he accepted and eventually disappeared from public life.

    Now, back to my point and my apology for this tangent of thought and yet, still adds to a tad of illumination for under our sheriff.

    With the proverbial abililty to control ‘zoning’ and thus, establishing Sun City was a done deal, from the inception of an idea to an actual buildout in terms of marketing and sales, “educated and informed” Arizona’s politics, now morphed into what we see in Arizona today.

    Otherwise, and by way of demographics, in 1970, Arizona would have become a ‘minority/majority’ state, but this was not to occur. Given America’s penchant for White Flight, these Documented Immigrants (okay,it a joke in contrast to undocumented immigrants, and give me a break, this is my tongue-in-cheek Chicano humor coming to the fore, and it not too often that I partake of my own Cactus Juice) from around America, and which has reinforced the nostrums of the Right and for their affection for the John Bircher Derangement Syndrome, all without the stealth equipment of the silk suits. Back East, the Boys from Dover, would be analogous, too for implementation here in the Sonoran Desert.

    And as I have posted in the past, bigots are ‘enablers’ and racistists are ‘narcissistic’, and this combination has come together in the nexus of our infamous sheriff of the pink underwear and green bologna. And as Vietnam War vet, I could easily lace up my combat boots and strap on the body armor, but that’s against the law. Additionaly, my reality dictates that another minuteman is standing in their long ‘clique’ to fill Arpaio’s shoes. And at the end of the political day, counting votes is all that matters and Arpaio has over 100,000 votes that adds lustre and lucre to his ‘black box’ and his voluntary “posse”.

    And to add to my ‘victimoloy’ for being a Chicano, the next time I get stopped for a minor traffic violation, I will be thanking my fellow Democrats for putting the ‘heat’ on our Elected and Appointed officials for ‘doing the right thing! such as Conyers, and hopefully Reid, Pelosi, and ultimately, President Obama. And lest I forget, my thanks!

    Jaango

  26. jaango says:

    In my post above, I was remiss about my nod to the “future.” Of course, I am speaking to the enactment of Civilian Review Boards relative to our Law Enforcement Schematic. It scares the hell out of them, and rightfully and righteously so!

    Jaango

  27. lllphd says:

    so glad for you, bmaz, to hear this.

    is this not ultimately more powerful than obama’s visit to AZ in the hopes/off-chance arpaio might have lost? only to drift into the woodwork as the worm he is?

    there is some merit on occasion to giving the criminals enough rope to hang themselves. makes it that much easier to put them away.

    • bmaz says:

      No not even remotely close as a matter of fact. You mischaracterize my grounds for wanting Obama to come campaign in Arizona immediately prior to the election. It was never about beating Arpaio as a result, I never said it was; in fact, I specifically and often said that there was no hope of beating Arpaio with the weak candidate the Dems put up (probably not with any candidate, but not with the one they chose, Saban). My desire was to draw the presidential vote itself to a draw or close to it and, even more than that, to give a boost to Tim Nelson and Bob Lord. If Obama had campaigned here and the excitement had taken hold, like it did in other places he did go, there was a real chance to have a shot at some or all of those races. The sentiment among the voters was here, but there was no emotion and the McCain people were allowed to rule the day out of sheer ambivalence. Obama could have made the difference. So, no, I am still livid about that, and I still consider it a mistake on his part.

      And for the record, this is good news that another strongly worded letter has been issued by Conyers, but Arpaio is already on record here literally laughing at them. He is right, nothing will come of it. Taking out Andrew Thomas, and replacing him with Democrat Tim Nelson, would have been the biggest curb on Arpaio that was feasible. But it would not and could not happen without a little attention from the national ticket and we got fucking none. so, no, I am not any more inclined to buy into that “it’s all for the best” crap now than I was then. It is baloney.

      • lllphd says:

        thanks for the time taken for a detailed explanation. my memory was that you harbored some hope that arpaio might lose had obama shown, however remote.

        sorry you’re still pissed; not clear to me it would have been the best decision on obama’s part to venture into AZ, but again, i do understand and sympathize with your problems there.

        wrt conyers, it’ll be up to holder ultimately, won’t it? likewise with rove? at some point this contempt of congress bs, and its viral spread, will demand a stand.

        hope it comes soon. for you, and all of us.

  28. omyword says:

    I left Arizona and moved to Paris. Couldn’t get far enough away.

    One of my girlfriends got a DUI and had to do a weekend in Arpaio’s tent city. She was pregnant. I dropped her off and then when I came to pick her up, I had a washcloth soaked in rose water, flowers, juice, water, etc. I knew it was going to be bad. I arrived at the appointed hour and no friend. I watched people leave the jail and sat there for two hours. I was damned if I was going to leave without her. There’s no possible way to ask anybody anything. No doors, no windows. She had no cell phone, very little money with her. Finally, I saw her walking waaaaaay far away, towards my car. She got in and burst into tears and sobbed for a long time. The women are only separated from the men by a glass wall, and the tents that house 10 women are open. So when a girl needs to go to the toilet, all the other girls, IF THEY ARE NICE, have to gather around her so the guys don’t see. The only food/drink is in machines and the machines were empty. My friend kept getting in trouble for no reason, and they just kept adding time to her stay. There were no rules, either oral or written. So, you can’t avoid getting in trouble. She was lucky that it wasn’t summer at 110 degrees. It was spring, so only 80ish.

    My other friend, a tall white business executive guy with lotsa money and a fancy lawyer, got special permission to do his DUI weekend in a very nice cell in Scottsdale.

    I was at a charity auction once, and stood in line to get a cookbook signed by all the celeb authors. There he was, just like somebody said up above me, short, greasy, wrinkly, dandruffy and grumpy as hell. Scowling. I had no intention of getting his signature, but when I walked by the table he shoved his hand out impatiently for my book while looking at something else across the room. I kept on walking.

    This article makes me think that there’s actually hope that somebody sane will boot his sorry ass out. The AZ wingnut voters are just as insane as he is (my family included). Thanks for all the figures that you compiled, and comparisons. I knew he was terrible, but I had no idea that he had cost all those fiscal conservative AZ voters such a sh**load of money. But of course, so did BushCo and AZ still loves him.

    Paris. ahhh.

  29. JohnLopresti says:

    Just saw in newspaper Obama scheduled to be in AZ this week for a speech.

    Here is an OT report from PA, but reminscent of material Star was publishing re my @52. In the PA matter linked a private firm provided judges graft to prescribe specific detainment centers for youth.

  30. bmaz says:

    Yes, it is up to the folks in DC as you suggest. The case is there; I don’t see the reward in it for them to do, sadly enough. I doubt they will really pursue it hard enough to get anywhere; but I hope I am wrong. And don’t pay much attention to me, I am a sore loser; and we lost here….

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