Known around the world as Sheriff Joe, and America’s Toughest Sheriff, Arpaio has made his public relations bones with “pink underwear” for Maricopa County Jail inmates, a diet for prisoners famous for it’s “green baloney,” and a per meal cost in the jail of less than $0.40 per meal. And then there’s always “Tent City.”
Arpaio is also famous for being sued more times by the US Department of Justice than – probably – all the rest of the law enforcement suits in the US combined. They’ve sue him for racial profiling more times than we can count, there’s a closet full of suits relating to immigration enforcement, and then there’s a handful of wrongful death suits by families of inmates who died at the hands of the Sheriff’s office in the County Jail.
The voters of Maricopa County first elected Arpaio in 1992. He’s been unbeatable. His biggest electoral weapon is the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Volunteer Posse. It’s made of mostly retired folks who get a kick out of putting on a uniform that they’re happy to pay for, and showing up at parades and at the malls around Phoenix providing “security” at Christmas time. It’s Arpaio’s political machine.
This time, he stepped in it.
In a stunning about face, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will admit he violated a federal judge’s order in his long-running racial-profiling case and agree to accept sanctions by the court, according toa legal motion filed late Tuesdayby Arpaio’s attorneys.
As part of the attorney’s offer, Arpaio himself would publicly confess to violating the order by continuing to allow sheriff’s deputies to make traffic stops based on suspicions about individuals’ immigration status.
Arpaio had no problem being “in your face” with the federal government on the subject of illegal immigration and most residents of Maricopa County residents – at least those who are not illegal aliens or harboring illegals – agree with Arpaio on that point.
We’ll talk about the admission in a minute. First, we harbor no empathy with any of the whiners complaining about “broken families” because their illegal alien family members got deported. Our only regret is that the family members shown on this tape weren’t jailed for harboring illegal aliens.
As to the rest of his tenure in office we had no use for Arpaio. We worked, for about 10 years, as a volunteer chaplain in the County Jail. We’ve seen first hand the results of his policies in the Jail and they’re not pretty.
Sheriff Joe was proud of his pink underwear and 40 cent meals. He loved to boast about the millions he saved the county taxpayers. He’s never been held accountable for the cost of wrongful death suits and imposed oversite in the jails. It runs in the hundreds of millions. He cost county taxpayers almost $50 million in a political fight with a laundry list of local politicians.
And then there was the endorsement of Democrat Janet Napolitano for Governor over conservative Republican Matt Salmon in 2002. Napolitano won the election by less than 12,000 votes. We’re not much on endorsements one way or the other, but in this instance Arpaio’s endorsement put Janet Napolitano in office and then gave us the pathetic Jan Brewer when Napolitano moved to Washington to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Napolitano was Attorney General when Arpaio endorsed her. It just so happened she was in the process of investigating the Sheriff on a variety of things and after his endorsement and her election to the Governor’s office, those investigations just disappeared. Janet bought and paid for her office and let Arpaio walk from any potential accountability at the time.
Joe Arpaio, overall, was a blight on the state of Arizona. He cost the county taxpayers hundreds of millions, gave us a liberal Democrat and REALLY stupid Republican as governors, and all for nothing more than to feed his ego.
Joe, we look forward to seeing you in jail over this. Maybe even Tent City. It would be a fitting reward for 23 years of blight on our county. We like the idea of finding out if America’s Toughest Sheriff will be America’s Toughest Inmate.
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