Controversial Phoenix sheriff Joe Arpaio has been ordered to go back to remedial “bias free” training after telling a reporter he would have no problem conducting another unconstitutional immigration “sweep” like one performed in the town of Guadalupe in 2008.
The training was initially outlined and sanctioned by the sheriff himself in a document he wrote in 2012, where he explained that “outside groups” were causing the public to perceive his office negatively. He wrote at the time:
Recently, however, it seems that my high profile nature and that of my Office, along with my willingness to take on difficult and at times controversial issues, have led some people to feel dismayed, even alienated, particularly as it relates to our Hispanic community.
These concerns are fueled by an unfortunate use of language that compounds rather than describes the problem.
Terms like “culture of cruelty” and “racist” are tossed about in headlines and sound bites, while information to support these claims is not offered or communicated through the mainstream media.
I do not tolerate racist attitudes or behaviors. We at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office do not foster a “culture of cruelty.”
It appears that it’s now the courtroom that is dismayed by the sheriff’s words and actions. U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow, who ruled that the Sheriff must attend the same curricula that his staff does, criticized sheriff Arpaio during a hearing in Phoenix, stating Sheriff Joe’s comments undermined the courts’ ruling that ordered the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions.
Sheriff Joe has long been a darling of the Tea Party. The 82-year-old sheriff has managed to stay in the spotlight almost constantly since 2008, with none of the publicity being good. His policy of racially-charged arrests and detention of Latinos based on race was ruled a civil rights violation and resulted in a class-action lawsuit that keeps his department under scrutiny to this day. Additionally, it appears that his staff was in the habit of other gross misconducts when it came to immigrants. The judge also criticized the office’s handling of an investigation into allegations that a deputy who committed suicide was blackmailing illegal immigrants with the help of other Maricopa county employees:
Ramon “Charley” Armendariz, who testified at the racial profiling trial, was found with numerous videotapes of traffic stops and personal information of drivers with Hispanic surnames at his home. Included were license plates, credit cards and identification cards.
Arpaio has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations, and many other abuses of office. He has been found guilty of racial profiling in federal court, and works with a monitor appointed to oversee the MCSO’s operations and basically babysit him as he carries out his term of office. His jails have twice been ruled unconstitutional.
Most recently, in 2012, Arpaio’s staff was investigated for using credit cards and other financial misconduct but there wasn’t enough evidence of wrongdoing to make charges stick.
Earlier this year, Arpaio’s office came under fire for a “roast” that featured racist jokes mocking Latinos, Asians, and Muslims.
Sheriff Joe is serving his 6th term in Maricopa County. He has already announced his plan to run for re-election in 2016, at the spry age of 84.
[Image Credit: AZCapitolTimes.com]