2/07/2009

A Call for Investigation of Arpaio

I've covered the maniacal exploits of Joe Arpaio the sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ before. From his budget busting obsession with dark skinned people to his arrest of people daring to oppose his failed policies at council meetings to transporting dangerous criminals on public transportation to his media whore-Chuck Norris wannabe TV show, we've watched in awe the stupidity flowing from the MCSD and been flabbergasted by voters who continually elect a man who brings them over 2700 lawsuits for human rights violations, week long response times to rapes and murders, and a backlog of serious felony warrants that has ground the judicial system to a halt.

Instead he spends his time rounding up "illegal" immigrants. When Joe says "illegal" what he really means is anyone who has brown skin and a Spanish sounding last name. He grabs 'em all and worries about sorting them out later.

Now, he has erected his own GITMO in the Desert. Bertha Lewis of ACORN has some scary details of what the people of Maricopa County are letting happen in their own backyards:

Sheriff Arpaio - The Bull Connor of the 21st Century

Friends, there are some things that cannot go unchallenged. They are affronts to human dignity and to what it means to live in America.

Yesterday one of those things happened in Maricopa County, Arizona, the mega-county that contains Phoenix. In a move that smacks of the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and that harks back to the days of the chain gang in the South, the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, is clustering 200 undocumented inmates of the County Jail in their own special tent city. The tent city is surrounded by an electric fence, further bringing home the treatment of human being as chattel. The Phoenix New Times has a compelling story detailing yesterdays outrage.

We cannot let this stand. We are circulating a petition that asks Congressman John Conyers, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to hold hearings into this latest outrage and the long history of abuse carried out by Sheriff Arpaio.

What makes this move especially troubling is the Sheriff’s determination to expand his tent city to accommodate up to 2500 prisoners, an indication of the scope of his determination to continue his devastating policies of racial profiling, retaliatory arrests aimed at silencing critics, and forced family separation.

These actions are an affront to anyone who cares about human rights and are the logical outcome of a police state mentality that sees the only solution to our immigration challenge coming at the end of a gun.

Therefore, we at ACORN, through our Arizona ACORN members, are taking a stand against this action and the on-going immigration enforcement policies of the Sheriff that have resulted not just in this indefensible move, but in widespread human rights abuses of American citizens and our immigrant cousins.

We are following the lead of community leaders like AZ ACORN Board Member Alicia Russell who said, “This march is an extremely callous and inhumane move, aimed directly at degrading undocumented immigrants. In claiming to justify this action as a way to improve ‘budget savings,’ Arpaio is degrading these immigrants, violating their civil rights, and overreaching his jurisdiction”, the entire Maricopa County town of Guadalupe, and Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability (MCSA) who recently staged a “Death of Democracy” funeral procession protesting the Sheriff’s actions.

We are answering the call of local leaders like Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon who has demanded a federal probe into Arpaio’s recent crime sweeps in Hispanic neighborhoods using tactics that are tantamount to racial-profiling and reflect poorly on all Arizonans, regardless of their ethnic heritage. We are answering the call of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who said, “We treat people equally in America. I think it’s wrong.”

Even the conservative Goldwater Institute calls Apraio’s policies “ineffective” in a report released in December. “[He] has diverted resources away from basic law-enforcement functions to highly publicized immigration sweeps, which are ineffective in policing illegal immigration and in reducing crime generally[.]”

Help us take a stand by asking Rep. Conyers to lead an investigation into these tactics. America needs to stand for justice under the law, not the law of “just us”.

Please take a stand. It's time that this man be forced to stop acting as though he is not there to enforce the law but there to make it up as he goes along. He must be stopped from continuing to use our Constitution as toilet paper while he basks in the approval and back-slapping of ignorant rednecks who have done nothing more than transfer their racism from Blacks to Latinos.


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