1/31/2009

"They're always griping about me!"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arapaio arrested critics of his policies at a meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting in December.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested four activists from ACORN Wednesday for allegedly disrupting a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Protesters from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now were at the meeting to criticize Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s policies, including his focus on illegal immigration. ACORN and other critics say the immigration focus takes away from other priorities.

Arpaio said the four were warned by deputies not to disrupt the meeting and that Wednesday’s disorderly conduct charges follow the arrest four ACORN protesters Monday.

“They’re always griping about me,” said Arpaio.

ACORN political coordinator Teresa Castro said the group has been petitioning the county board to have formal, public discussions about Arpaio, but members only get to talk during public comment sessions. Castro said ACORN and other groups have been making such requests since June and just want to have their concerns heard.

Arpaio said his deputies were keeping order and protecting the supervisors during the Wednesday meeting. About 10 deputies were at the board meeting and between 30 and 40 protesters attended.

One observer of the arrests — with ties to neither ACORN or the MCSO — said deputies appeared ready to act quickly to quell any disturbances.

Board Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox questioned the arrests. "I believe that the actions of law enforcement at today’s meeting, particularly the arrest of citizens, were excessive and unwarranted," she said.

It appears that Arpaio has now stepped up his efforts to consolidate power and destroy the rule of law in Central Arizona by trying to silence anyone daring to criticize his massively ineffective, expensive, and possibly illegal actions.

It is hard to understand how the citizens of the county can continue to re-elect this man to office. It apears much of his support comes from rural areas of the county. These are the same places hardest hit by his obsession with playing FBI Agent and ICE agent instead of sheriff. In many places crimes go uninvestigated or take days or months to even receive a response by law enforcement. Yet, the great unwashed in the countryside worship this man because he puts prisoners in pink underwear as though that is some incredible crime deterrent rather than a stupid publicity stunt.

Recently, Arapaio determined that he would "save money" by having convicts transported on public transportation rather than using police vans or cars. Now, if you're riding the Light Rail system in Phoenix, AZ you are likely to have to share your ride with convicted criminals being transferred around the city with an armed guard. Obviously, public safety has never been Joe Arpaio's main concern. He has even claimed that having prisoners on the trains will "increase security" because they'll have a guard who can provide extra security for passengers! Ironically, he was told that the plan would actually cost MORE than transporting using jail vans or police cars but he has refused to back down.

Oh well, if you're in Maricopa county, make sure you give proper deference to Der Furher Joe lest you find yourself in jail wearing pink underwear.


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