Is Sheriff Joe the “SHakiest Gun in the West?”


The Mayor of Phoenix considers Joe Arpaio the Shakiest Gun in the West!

“…Gordon, talking with News/Talk 92-3 KTAR’s Darrell Ankarlo, said the sheriff has lost his focus and is not helping the county at all with reducing crime. “The continuing bizarre behavior of the sheriff, including last night’s demonstration of anger and sarcasm, is continuing evidence that the stress and criticism of the office is affecting the sheriff’s judgment,” Gordon said….”I think with law enforcement, the last thing anybody wants is somebody with a gun, both that is angry and shaking,” the mayor said. “You’ll see Arpaio is increasingly engaging in bizarre behavior, erratic ramblings and misstatements, contradicting himself within the same statement.” Arpaio said Gordon has no business criticizing him for doing his job and that he has overwhelming public support compared with the mayor. “He constantly criticizes me with my 48 years of law enforcement,” Arpaio said. “A poll came out today. It said 86 percent support me, 14 percent support the mayor. He better look at what the people think. We are politicians. We serve the people.””

How much is the newest lawsuit going to cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County and when are they going to figure out that Joe Arpaio just plain ole’ ain’t worth it!

“…Indeed, the specific cases cited in the document are damning, and follow a familiar, sinister pattern. A Mexican national in the country legally and with the papers to prove it is arrested and held for nine hours, before finally being released. Hispanic Americans are stopped and subjected to the sort of interrogation and humiliating treatment that their Anglo counterparts escape. In perhaps the most egregious example, a Hispanic American man is arrested and handcuffed in front of his family’s auto repair shop, all because his sister was singing along to some Spanish music. A swarm of vindictive Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the man with their weapons drawn, even though he’s done absolutely nothing wrong. Ultimately, he’s released without being cited….”

Currently there are more than a few lawsuits targeting the good high sheriff.  Is he racial profiling?

“…Allegations about the sweeps were added to a lawsuit, filed in December, that alleges a Mexican man in the country legally was unnecessarily detained by a deputy investigating the man’s immigration status.

Among Arizona’s local police bosses, Arpaio has taken the most aggressive approach to cracking down on illegal immigration. His efforts include creating a special immigration unit, arresting more than 1,000 illegal immigrants under a state smuggling law and setting up a hot line to report immigration violations.
The latest court filing alleged Arpaio, who has 160 patrol and jail officers trained in enforcing federal immigration law, has let deputies and posse volunteers perform immigration duties when they weren’t trained to do so. The federal agency that gave the officers the special training has said the sheriff has stayed within the bounds of its training agreement. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who disapproved of the sweeps in Phoenix and has become Arpaio’s most prominent critic, has asked for a federal investigation of Arpaio for possible civil rights violations….”

Naturally Arpaio is furious.

“…he Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office wants the Pima County Administrator to fire the county’s chief legal defender, according to a letter sent to the administrator’s office. Chief Legal Defender Isabel Garcia appeared at Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s book signing in Tucson last week and reportedly participated in a mock assault and decapitation of the Maricopa County sheriff. “Her actions suggested her minions violently assault Sheriff Arpaio,” wrote Maricopa County Deputy Chief John McIntyre in a letter to Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry. “This is a travesty.” McIntyre also chided Huckleberry for using a “head-in-the-sand approach that Ms. Garcia can do whatever she wants on her own time.” …”

United for A…whatever America is gushing about Sheriff Joe and his Mesa anti-Mexican sweeps.  Good for them.  Problems is, there are two very different stories here. The Anti-Immigration Version:

“…Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Monday launched another crackdown on illegal immigration and other criminal violators in Mesa. The effort comes more than two weeks after the sheriff’s office conducted a similar sweep in Mesa. Arpaio had been upset that word of his late June crackdown in Mesa had been leaked to news reporters. The latest sweep was unannounced. The sheriff has drawn criticism for crackdowns in three heavily populated illegal alien areas of metropolitan Phoenix during late March and early April…”

KNXV-TV Version:

“…Arpaio said he is thanking them because they have brought attention to his sweeps and have created a fear factor among undocumented immigrants. “I talked with the Mexican Consulate. They’re flooded with people who want to leave this county,” claimed Arpaio.   During Monday’s activity, Sheriff Arpaio said there have been 35 arrests, 26 of those undocumented immigrants. Despite the surprise sweep, protesters found out about it shortly after it began. “We’re organized. The masses are slowly turning on Joe Arpaio and when one person finds out about them, everyone finds out,” said protester Adolfo Maldonado. Arpaio promised he’ll continue his immigration sweeps and even hinted where he might go next. “I might go back to Phoenix. I’m telling the mayor right now so I don’t have to give him notice.” Since the crime suppression sweeps began in March, Arpaio said his deputies and posse members have arrested more than 265 people, nearly half of those undocumented immigrants Workers with the the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have put in 61 man hours.  That works out to one arrest for every 15 minutes of work….”

OR…Is there another version of the story?

“…For Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed tough guy seeking his fifth term in office, it was supposed to be a banner day. For two months, Arpaio had threatened that he would ram one of his so-called “crime-suppression sweeps” down the throat of Mesa Police Chief George Gascón, the sheriff’s most high-profile critic in law enforcement….Gascón, a Cuban immigrant and a former assistant chief at the Los Angeles Police Department, had already bumped heads with the sheriff over a November roundup in Mesa, ordering a spokesman to slam Arpaio for his high-handed tactics. Gascón continued to egg Arpaio in the press, sniping that the sheriff “can’t keep his jails open, yet he can arrest cooks and gardeners.” When Arpaio, and the news media, tipped off Gascón to his upcoming plan for another sweep in Mesa, the chief was ready. The sheriff had planned initially to make an appearance at the operation’s field headquarters, a county office near Baseline Road and U.S. 60. But Gascón swamped the area with 132 Mesa police officers. They worked in shifts because of the extreme heat, most on foot and some on bicycles, in cars and on building rooftops. Whether it was Gascón’s intention or not, the show of force made the Sheriff’s Office look like the puny kid on the block — a wimp who needed George Gascón’s protection…’

FYI – Arpaio stayed in his high-rise office in Phoenix.  He did not step foot in Mesa.

Evidently local Maricopa County officials are terrified of Joe Arpaio and, until the tarnish began to fade, no one would even go after him.  To do so, is to court disaster, just ask Dan Saban. It doesn’t matter how much he costs the county, or how much he allows the conservative world to think he saves the taxpayer, Joe Arpaio can’t really count.  A perfect example is the fact that, while the AZ State Department of Racing investigates Sheriff Joe, he goes back at ’em. Evidently Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has finally had enough:

“…In March, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon was the first high-level elected official to publicly go against Arpaio’s immigration sweeps. In a speech to the annual Cesar Chavez Day luncheon, Gordon — fed up with crime suppression operations in northeast Phoenix that drew hundreds of protesters and fears of violence — accused Arpaio of going after “brown people with broken taillights.” He urged other political and civic leaders to speak out against what he saw as clearly racist roundups.

But his call to action went largely unanswered. Some church organizations and Hispanic activists wrote letters and organized protests at meetings of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and elsewhere, but broad support for Gordon never materialized.

“It takes a lot of courage to say anything because of the price one pays,” Gordon says now.

He believes regulators and county officials are simply afraid of Arpaio. “Because of the fear of retribution which has occurred, including against the former county attorney, the attorney general of the state of Arizona, publishers of newspapers.”

Arpaio has gotten into very public fights with those officials, and, working with current Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, even had the owners of Phoenix New Times arrested as part of a long-smoldering dispute over information about Arpaio that the paper had published.

In May, Gov. Janet Napolitano withdrew $600,000 Arpaio had been hoping to use for immigration enforcement efforts. She gave the money to the state Department of Public Safety to use to clear up a backlog of tens of thousands of felony warrants, many for violent crimes, that had built up for years.

Even though she never made the link between the sheriff’s immigration effort and the money, Arpaio did — in a steady stream of news releases accusing her of trying to undermine his effort.

“Despite the Governor’s attempts to stop me from fighting illegal immigration, my deputies are under my order to continue to enforce all aspects of the human smuggling laws,” Arpaio said in one of many statements distributed widely to the media.

But even as Arpaio’s immigration program has brought MCSO into violation of federal rules on racial profiling, caused 911 response times to soar, and pushed the agency into financial crisis, the government entities responsible for keeping an eye on the agency have done little more then review reports and ask for information….”

Mistreatment of prisoners
is not uncommon under Sheriff Joe.

“…Despite the cost, the primary victims of Arpaio’s mismanagement are not taxpayers, or even attorneys like Kathleen Carey, but indigent inmates like Michelle McCollum. McCollum, who was arrested for drug possession, could not make bail and, therefore, waited for trial in Arpaio’s lockup. She eventually was sentenced to nothing more than probation. A medical test administered when McCollum was admitted to jail confirmed that she was pregnant. On August 22, 2005, McCollum sat on the concrete floor of the Fourth Avenue Jail, a facility un-affectionately known by inmates as “The Matrix” (because the lights never turn off). She longed for a mattress and tried hard to overlook the rotting food and soiled feminine napkins on the floor.

Suddenly, two inmates attacked her, pummeling her face, back, and abdomen. McCollum and another cellmate reported the beating to detention officers, pleaded for medical help, and reminded deputies that McCollum was pregnant and had been hit in the stomach. McCollum also put in a medical request to the infirmary. No doctor or nurse looked in upon the injured McCollum.

Two days later, McCollum sat in the courthouse, chained to a row of inmates, when she started to bleed. She bled for five hours, looking frighteningly like Stephen King’s infamous Carrie. The inmates chained to McCollum to await their arraignments began to complain. Detention officers ignored the prisoners.

When she arrived at the E-Pod in Sheriff Arpaio’s Estrella Jail, a bloodstained McCollum again told guards about her beating and her need for medical care. An officer put in a priority request for medical attention, but nobody came. Alarmed at McCollum’s loss of blood, a guard finally ushered her to see a doctor. Infirmary workers called an ambulance and rushed McCollum to Maricopa Medical Center. Doctors there found her baby with an ultrasound, but they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. The baby was dead.

Doctors told the jail guards that McCollum must return to the hospital in two days — on August 26 — to see if the fetus would pass on its own. Ten days later, the jail had yet to deliver McCollum to her hospital appointment. On September 5, while McCollum stood holding her tray in the food line, the bleeding started again.

Still, nothing was done. Three weeks after the ignored doctor’s appointment, McCollum was finally rushed to the county hospital for the second time. She had lost so much blood that doctors gave her a massive blood transfusion. Then they removed the dead fetus. It’s important to note that McCollum hadn’t been convicted of a crime. Like inmates whose deaths are recounted later in this story, McCollum was awaiting trial — innocent under the law. Ignored cries for medical attention and resulting agony are not uncommon in Arpaio’s jails….”