Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why Are the Feds Suing Brash Arizona Sheriff?

Joe Arpaio

As he attends an unrelated news conference, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio hands back to one of his deputies an Associated Press news report stating the U.S. Justice Department is suing Arpaio saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010, in Phoenix. … Read more »
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

WASHINGTON, DC – Joe Arpaio, the famously truculent sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, is being sued by the U.S. Justice Department for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into discrimination and illegal searches. According to The Christian Science Monitor, "The Justice Department said it has been seeking documents relating to its civil-rights probe for 15 months and turned to a lawsuit only as a last resort." The blogosphere reacts:
  • Who Is This Guy?  Andrew Cohen at Politics Daily explains: "Arpaio often is applauded locally, and is well-known nationally for what he calls his "get tough policies," which include dying prisoners' clothes pink, feeding them at a cost of 15 cents a meal, and housing them in tent cities. His midnight raids on businesses, where he rounds up suspected illegal immigrants, have been scorned by his critics and applauded by his fans."
  • What a Hypocrite, writes Prerna La at Change: "Since Arpaio is a fan of asking immigrants for their papers, it is not unreasonable to expect the Sheriff to show his own 'papers,' or records of accountability to his supervisors, and especially since his office gets federal funding, which subjects him to investigations under Title VI and compliance reviews... No one is above the law. If we are going to put non-violent, non-criminal undocumented immigrants in detention centers for mere civil violations, why is Sheriff Joe Arpaio not in prison yet for obstructing a federal investigation?"
  • This Gels With the Administration's Goals on Arizona Law, writes Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones: "With the Arpaio investigation and accompanying lawsuit, the Justice Department is sending the message that it is willing to add civil-rights protections to its priorities for immigration enforcement—and go after authorities who refuse to take heed."
  • They've Got Nothing on Arpaio, writes Byron York at The Washington Examiner: "ICE officials evaluated how the sheriff's office performed [six months ago]... They found an 'excellent' working relationship between the sheriff's office and the feds. ICE talked as well to federal prosecutors in Phoenix, who described the cases brought by Maricopa County as 'high quality.' ...In all, it's a quite positive assessment of an operation that just six months later would come under the Justice Department's microscope for alleged civil rights violations. It also lends indirect support to Arpaio's contention that the Justice Department investigation is politically motivated."


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