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Friday, September 3, 2010

U.S. Sues Arizona Sheriff In Immigration Probe

From the "It's about time" Department:
The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued an Arizona sheriff for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into allegations the sheriff discriminates against Hispanics.
The U.S. Department of Justice is now being forced to sue Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio to compel him to turn over documents needed for the federal government’s civil rights investigation.
Turns out Arizona's "show me your papers" poster boy doesn't like having to produce his. Arpaio has denied investigators access to key documents for over a year and a half.
In light of the news, here's a little background reading on Sheriff Joe.
Arpaio's Record: Higher Crime, Wasted Money, Squandered Trust
America’s Voice Education Fund’s latest report on Sheriff Joe’s record reveals that his high-profile tactics have actually led to higher crime rates, nearly 3,000 lawsuits, millions of wasted taxpayer dollars, and a degradation of the community policing strategies that law enforcement agencies have developed to keep us safe. 
What's more, violent crime is down across the state of Arizona --except in Sheriff Arpaio's Maricopa County. From 2002 to 2009, while the violent crime rate across the state as a whole plummeted by 12 percent, Arpaio's jurisdiction suffered a 58 percent surge in violent crime. The numbers speak for themselves:
As a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the East Valley Tribune found:
Response times, arrest rates, investigations and other routine police work throughout Maricopa County have suffered over the past two years as Sheriff Joe Arpaio turned his already short-handed and cash-strapped department into an immigration enforcement agency.
The full America’s Voice Education Fund report details Arpaio's long, disturbing and ineffective record, including some 21 examples of Arpaio’s disturbing record, such as:
  • Violent crime rates are up in Arpaio’s jurisdiction while they have fallen throughout the rest of Arizona.
  • Arpaio has failed to serve over 40,000 felony warrants. Arpaio is suspected of misspending $50 million in taxpayer funds and has refused to turn over records for an investigation.
  • Over 2,700 lawsuits have been filed against Arpaio and he’s been investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor.
  • Evidence suggests Arpaio forced an undocumented mother to give birth while handcuffed to a bed.
Failure to Comply
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been operating above the law for far too long. He's been investigated for using his badge to bully political opponents.
Arpaio sparked national protests last month and even used taxpayer money to pay for a reality TV show. Heck, he even posed for glamor shots with Neo-Nazis. Given his love of the media spotlight, there's no doubt he’ll use this latest development to try to play the victim.
It's unfortunate that the Justice Department has to take this step and force Arpaio to comply with a federal civil rights investigation, but we commend the Department for doing so.  If Sheriff Arpaio truly has nothing to hide, he should have no problem turning over the documents in question.

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