The United States vs. Criminals with Badgesby Bob Quasius, Sr. on Jan. 03, 2012, under Arpaio, California Dreaming
By Raoul Lowery Contreras
When an angry white male called Arizona s Maricopa County Sheriff s Office (MCSO) complaining about Spanish being spoken at a McDonald s, MCSO organized 50 deputies (with flak jackets and M-16 rifles) and raided the McDonald s looking for illegal alien Mexican hamburger flippers.
Result: One or two or three illegal workers from Mexico and maybe a legal resident or citizen or two, all to be held in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio s infamous desert tent jail where the inmates are fed a bologna sandwich a day. The raid cost thousands of dollars.
No, this is a normal, regular day in Phoenix and surrounding Maricopa County where 78-year-old Sheriff Joe Arpaio reigns supreme. Whenever any elected politician has questioned Arpaio s tactics or his budget or the millions of dollars Arpaio disappeared from the jail account, he has ordered corruption investigations into their offices and personal lives.
These investigations have been declared bogus by the courts and Arpaio’s allies in the County attorney s office have not only been reprimanded by the courts but disbarment and criminal charges are pending.
In addition to the missing millions of dollars from the jail account and phony investigations designed to intimidate elected officials, there are also illegal campaign contributions handled by his top administrators that violated state laws.
The guilty officers were fired by a reluctant Arpaio only after a neighboring sheriff s department (Pinal County) publicly announced its investigation s findings.
Now enters the federal government.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Homeland Security Department (HSD) have stripped MCSO of its federal privileges of assisting federal officers on immigration matters and stripped the County from the Secure Communities Act which means money and data base resources MCSO has been using will no longer be available.
In a letter to the county and in a press conference, the Department of Justice announced that after a three year investigation, Sheriff Arpaio and his deputies are guilty of hundreds if not thousands of civil rights violations and illegal racial profiling. It is also public knowledge that while Arpaio s deputies raid local McDonalds, they have not served 40,000 felony warrants outstanding in the county and have bungled hundreds of sex crime investigations.
In the DOJ letter to Maricopa County elected officials: If MCSO is not interested or if we deem that MCSO is not engaged in good-faith efforts to achieve compliance by voluntary means, we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance. In the actual report compiled of the investigation, there is a review of the constitutional abuses rampant in Maricopa County including an analysis by a leading expert on measuring racial profiling who examined MCSO traffic stops and found that (Arizona Republic):
Latino drivers were between four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. Overall, the expert concluded that this case involves the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he has ever personally seen in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature. The most egregious racial profiling in the United States he has ever personally seen.
This, where an Arizona law SB 1070 requires all state and local employees, including meter maids, building inspectors and bus drivers, to use the exact same illegal methods to enforce the law.
Alleged Civil Rights violations in the report:
- One-fifth of all the immigration-sweep traffic stops (20%) violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures.
- Arpaio’s anti-immigration squads responded repeatedly with enforcement patrols to complaints about people with “dark skin” or Spanish speakers.
- Jail guards punished Spanish-speaking inmates for failing to understand their commands in English, putting them in solitary confinement as punishment.
- Jail guards refused to accept grievance forms and “tank orders,” which allow inmates to request basic daily services, which were written in Spanish.
- Guards pressured (forced?) Latino inmates to sign voluntary deportation forms.
Arpaio’s office retaliated against its critics by subjecting them to “retaliatory detentions and arrests without cause, unfounded civil lawsuits, and other baseless complaints.”
Two specific examples:
A legal U.S. resident who allegedly failed to use his turn signal was made to sit on a curb for 15 minutes, then arrested and jailed for 13 days on a bogus charge that was dismissed in court.
A legal U.S. resident and his U.S. citizen son invited deputies into their home during a raid on a suspect drop-house next door. The deputies proceeded to search the home without consent or a warrant, handcuffed the man and his son, then, had them sit on the sidewalk with the people being busted from the neighboring house. They were detained for an hour before being released without any citation The investigation also found that the Sheriff’s Office permitted the specialized units to engage in unconstitutional behavior.
Arizona Republic: Arpaio and (his) aides expressed particular anger at how the Justice Department, which flew in a contingent of officials from Washington D.C., chose to trumpet its damning findings in “a dog and pony” fashion with a press conference. “Don’t come here and use me as a whipping post for a national, international problem,” the Sheriff said, alluding to the issue of illegal immigration. One of his aides called the whole thing a witch hunt. It appears that there Sheriff Arpaio and many of his deputies should be and might be in his famous desert tent city jail eating bologna sandwiches. A federal criminal investigation aside from this civil investigation is proceeding.
Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Deans List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official(1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-03-12). His books are available on Amazon.com.