Are Sheriff Joe’s Follies Catching Up with Him?

“…So much for my speech. The struggle, I fear, is just getting started. Both our Mayor and Police Chief have challenged the Sheriff. Religious leaders, myself included, will soon be publishing an open letter in the paper, legal challenges will be mounted. No matter what your views on immigration or your ideas on how to solve this immensely complex problem, the Sheriff’s heavy-handed intimidation is not the way. I hope that you will join with me and others in the religious community who are doing their best to balance the laws of our country with the basic human rights of all God’s children….” Bishop Kirk Smith (Episcopal)

I think this time Sheriff Joe has gone too far.  Last week, according to Arizona Episcopalian Bishop Kirk S. Smith (fan of this writer’s most recent book)  Sheriff Joe, in an attempt to catch those nasty illegals, interrupted a confirmation service at the Roman Catholic Church in Guadalupe. Bishop Smith wrote

“…Thursday night I spoke to a group of about 1,500 members of the East Valley Interfaith, an ecumenical group that works with political leaders to further such causes as public safely, education, health care, and immigration reform. It was apparent from that meeting that Arizona has a major church/state crisis on its hands as it reacts to the tactics used by the County Sheriff in his crusade to catch undocumented immigrants. Last Sunday, he interrupted a confirmation service in a Roman Catholic Church in Guadalupe. Last night the Mayor of Phoenix, the Police Chief, and representatives from the Governor’s office were present to hear our concerns. I shared with that group the story of my Holy Week encounter with the Sheriff’s Department, and I pass it on to you:

This past Good Friday I was driving home from church services in Tucson when I received a call from the priest at one of our Spanish-speaking churches in Phoenix. Her church is located just off Thomas Road, less than a block away from where our County Sheriff had decided to set up a so-called “command center” complete with trailers, radio towers, search lights, and scores of uniformed officers in SWAT gear. This was described to the press as his home-base for a campaign to catch illegal immigrants who had committed such horrible crimes as having a crack in their windshield or a burnt out headlight. The real purpose of course was to intimidate innocent people, and in that he succeeded. Many of the members of are undocumented, and of course they were now afraid to come to Good Friday services. I went to the scene and tried to speak with the officer in charge. I tried to explain to him that not only were his men frightening law-abiding citizens, but they were in fact violating if not the letter, then at least the spirit of the Constitution by preventing people from going to church-it’s called freedom of religion. Suffice it to say, the deputy, although polite, was not interested. He had his orders….”

At times like this, I’m proud to be an Episcopalian!


“…Rep. Ben Miranda, a Phoenix Democrat and co-chair of the 14-member Latino Caucus, said Arpaio’s sweeps have produced “plenty of examples” of racial profiling of innocent citizens. The caucus successfully fought for the release of a U.S.-born citizen who was taken into custody on March 22 after one of Arpaio’s sweeps, Miranda said. Though he declined to identify the individual or provide further details, Miranda said the Hispanic man was incarcerated for 10 days despite producing a copy of his birth certificate. “These are the things that are going on in this community that need to be brought to the surface,” Miranda said. The Sheriff’s Office disputed Miranda’s depiction of the incident, saying the man was “belligerent” and refused to show identification upon being stopped for a traffic violation. Only after he was arrested and turned over to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents was it discovered he was a citizen, said Brian Sands, the sheriff’s chief of enforcement.“He was so uncooperative through all stages of the booking process, he was trying to get into a position where we might deport him,” Sands said. Miranda’s brother, Sen. Richard Miranda, a Tolleson Democrat and the caucus’ other co-chair, questioned during the news conference why Arpaio has not consulted with local police agencies when carrying out such sweeps.“Without that type of local advice or information,” the senator said, “these saturation raids are nothing more than a way for Sheriff Arpaio to gain media attention and obviously his re-election.”…”

I don’t understand what is going on here.  I don’t give a rip if this man is the conservative version of the second coming.  He is violating the Constitution of the United States of America.  Once upon a time, I though Conservatives loved the Constitution.  This whole get tough on immigration is turning conservatives into flaming liberals, violating everything they once held dear.  Border security is one thing.  What is going on in Maricopa County is what Republicans once stood up and fought against.

Michael Zak is highlighting the GOP’s efforts to take out the KKK in 1871.

“…On this day in 1871, the Republican-controlled 42nd Congress passed and the Republican President, Ulysses Grant, signed into law the Ku Klux Klan Act.  The law banned the KKK and other Democrat terrorist organizations.  President Grant then deployed federal troops to crush a Klan uprising in South Carolina. Eleven years later, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned most provisions of the Act.  Though legalized, this original version of the Ku Klux Klan faded.  Why?  Because as Democrats regained control over southern state governments, they could oppress African-Americans openly, without need of white sheets….”

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights is a heck of a lot more important than that blasted border fence.  A mockery is being made out of our freedoms for it.  Joe Arpaio is making a mockery out of the Bill of Rights with his behavior that is designed to appeal to the worst elements – pandering for reelection.  When are people going to stand up and going to do what is right.  I am embarrassed that Arpaio calls himself a “Republican”.  Once upon a time, the GOP stood up against those who were the harbingers of hate. Joe Arpaio is no different from those creatures the GOP once stood up to outlaw so many years ago.  What he is doing, or what he is starting is no different, either.

Does anyone care about the people who have died, needlessly in Sheriff Joe’s custody.

“…Recently the Arizona Republic reported on another inmate death civil rights case against Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (“MCSO”) that settled for $2,000,000. The case was about the death of Brian Crenshaw. Brian went into MCSO’s jail for shoplifting dishtowels for his girlfriend. He was legally blind and mentally disabled. Jail doctors told MCSO four times in writing that Brian was too disabled and too vulnerable to be put in Tent City. MCSO ignored their own doctor’s orders and put him into Tent City. Brian could manage his mental disability if he took his prescribed medicine each day. MCSO compounded the cruelty of the dangerous placement into Tent City by deciding not to give Brian the medicine he needed. Later, an overworked jail guard picked a fight with Brian, cuffed him, then roughed him up badly enough that he had to be sent to the jail infirmary. Without any hearing or investigation of Brian’s claim of the guard’s excessive force, MCSO put him in solitary confinement, refused him his mental health medication for six days, refused him the pain medication which had beenordered by the jail doctor after the altercation, and offered Brian food only twice in six days. Jail doctors were supposed to check on Brian’s well-being three days into his solitary confinement –they never did. On the sixth day, according to the MCSO, Brian “fell out of his bed” and broke his neck. After Brian died we warned MCSO not to destroy any evidence. But, MCSO destroyed the digital video (MCSO replaced the digital video with an intentionally denigrated analog video with conspicuous time gaps), evidence that would have shown whether or not MCSO’s improbable story of how his neck was broken was true….”


In the most recent issue of The Living Church, Bishop Smith’s ongoing demands for Sheriff Joe to treat Hispanics humanely is highlighted.

“…Phoenix Mayor Joe Gordon criticized Sheriff Arpaio after a Roman Catholic confirmation service at a church in a largely Hispanic neighborhood was disrupted on April 6. On Good Friday, Bishop Smith received a call from the priest at a Spanish-speaking church in Phoenix, where deputies and volunteers had set up another “Crime Suppression Unit” similar to one located near the Roman Catholic cathedral. Law enforcement officials and volunteers in the units seal off entire neighborhoods. According to Greta Huls, communications officer for the diocese, “brown-skinned” motorists attempting to enter or exit the targeted area are stopped for minor infractions and identification is demanded. In his weekly e-mail message to the diocese on April 12, Bishop Smith described how he drove to the church on Good Friday and tried to explain to one of the sheriff’s deputies that not only were his men frightening law-abiding citizens, but they were in fact violating if not the letter, then at least the spirit of the U.S. Constitution by preventing people from going to church.

“It’s called freedom of religion,” he said. “Suffice it to say, the deputy, although polite, was not interested. He had his orders.”

Mrs. Huls said the diocese is aware of at least one Hispanic U.S. citizen who has stopped attending an Episcopal church because of his fear of additional harassment. “Even if the sheriff has legal authority to order these sweeps, we question his judgment in orchestrating them, the message that they send to our community, and the fear and anger that they generate in the targeted neighborhoods,” the letter said in part. “These sweeps have evoked a ‘police state’ atmosphere, involved detainment on the basis of racial profile, and dehumanization of innocent people, many of whom are legal residents of the United States.”

In addition to Bishop Smith, the letter was signed by the local leaders of the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA, the executive director of the Arizona Ecumenical Council, the Arizona Chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix….”

I don’t think I would want to be Sheriff Joe right now.  My money’s on Bishop Smith.   And, the Goldwater Institute has turned on him (Sheriff Joe, not Bishop Smith).   If nothing else, the man should be removed from office for that Rug  he has on his head!  Film at 11!

So, Sheriff Joe, in a snit, cuts off all law enforcement in the Town of Guadalupe.   Now, you don’t think this isn’t vindictive? (I guess that will end up costing the taxpayers a few more million before it’s all over).

The US Mexico border crossing at Naco.  I took these photos last year.
I think it was June 30.
I was working with a documentary crew at the time.

Today a number of Arizona Episcopalians, including Bishop Kirk Smith, who is probably relishing the irony of the situation, mounted a religious assault on the border wall in Naco.   It was (actually) the third annual border procession to promote friendship and Christian unity.
Sierra Vista Herald

“…Kirk Smith, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona, discussed a psalm about the Battle of Jericho, in which God told Joshua to take his men and walk around the city and blast trumpets and give a loud shout and then the city’s walls collapsed. “Joshua was up against some similar odds as we are. He was facing a wall of fortification that looked like it was impregnable. No one had ever conquered it before,” he said. “At first it looks like we are up against the same thing. We have this high-tech wall that has been built here with all kinds of electronic gizmos and barbed wire and steel and looks pretty impregnable and we don’t look very powerful against it,” he continued. “Like Joshua, we wonder what could we do against these odds. But the people who built that wall forgot something. They forgot that God does not like walls. And every time we put up a wall, God knocks it down.” He pointed out the wall in Jericho and the Berlin Wall in Germany were both destroyed, and some day the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border will be torn down….”

Looking toward the border fence near Naco.  This is the old fencing.
I took these photos last June.


My source emailed me this morning, telling me about something that is now occurring around the base.  Evidently something is going on with the movement of illegals from Central America.  This is what you are not hearing in the news.

“…I can tell you that there are large numbers of illegals trafficking through the base. They have started to hit the post boundary in different spots simultaneously so while one group gets nabbed the other(s) get through unhindered. A lot of the stuff relating to post is kinda hands off “so-to-speak” because of (removed) considerations, but just this past week I saw a new hole in the boundary on the south range where they came through…”

I think we all know the reason this is occurring is because  of the ‘squeeze’ put on the border by the  fence.  According to my source the security infrastructure in certain spots is basically a few fences, but nothing substantial.  There are areas that are open to the public for hiking.