The clock struck at 1,095 days and 11 hours today for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Ariz. — or, at least according to the ticking icon on the Phoenix New Times home page that had asked readers for years: “How long has Sheriff Joe been under investigation by the feds?”
That investigation culminated Thursday when the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice released its long-awaited report, which found a “chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations” in Arpaio’s office. Drawing from tens of thousands of documents and over 400 interviews with sheriff’s department personnel, inmates and experts, the report documented “a widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminate against Latinos,” resulting in gross violations of constitutional rights.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez threw down the gauntlet for Arpaio at Thursday’s press conference, giving him until Jan. 4, 2012, to accept DOJ’s measures to take “clear steps toward reaching an agreement with the Division to correct these violations in the next 60 days,” or face a lawsuit. Perez expressed DOJ’s willingness ”to roll up our sleeves and build a comprehensive blueprint for reform of MCSO,” adding, “if the will exists” on Arpaio’s end.
That’s a big if. Now a real clock may be finally ticking for the countdown of the nearly 20-year reign of America’s self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff.”
One federal department is not even waiting: Within hours of the DOJ announcement, the Department of Homeland Security terminated Maricopa County’s access to immigration status data under the federal Secure Communities program.
The announcement comes amid growing calls for Arpaio’s resignation, in the aftermath of allegations that his department mishandled hundreds of sex crime reports in the Phoenix area township of El Mirage.
Rep. Raul Grijalva was the first to call for Arpaio to step down.
“Mr. Arpaio might love headline-grabbing crackdowns and theatrical media appearances,” the Tucson Democrat said last week, “but when it comes to the everyday work of keeping people safe, he seems to have lost interest some time ago.”
A few days later Rep. Ed Pastor, who represents Maricopa County in Congress, endorsed a call for Arpaio’s resignation. So did nine state legislators. Even Cafe Con Leche Republicans, a national organization, released a statement this week that “Arpaio has disgraced his office and the Republican Party.”
On Monday, religious leaders from 14 mainline denominations called on the attorney general to release its findings and take “immediate action to quell the growing human rights crisis in Arizona,” a reference to Arpaio’s law enforcement regime.
Citizens for a Better Arizona, a new group, which organized the successful recall of Tea Party leader and former state Senate president Russell Pearce in November, organized a major turnout at the Maricopa County board of supervisors meeting on Wednesday to call for Arpaio’s resignation.
“This is a very important day for Maricopa County,” County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, a critic of Arpaio, told supporters following the release of the report. “It’s a day many of us have been awaiting. Let this be the end of Arpaio. Give us a better criminal justice system.”
The 79-year-old sheriff has rarely failed to express disdain for federal oversight, especially from the Obama administration. Last week, Arpaio couldn’t resist tweeting his glee about a dubious report in the Globe tabloid newspaper that his “Cold Case posse” investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate had the first lady “in a panic.”
Two years ago, after Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano had also announced her intentions to terminate the DHS cooperation with Arpaio’s office, Sheriff Arpaio appeared on the Glenn Beck show and openly mocked federal authority. Arpaio claimed that local and state laws allow him to target “some people who have an erratic, scared … whatever … if they have their speech, what they look like, if they look like they come from another country, we can take care of that situation.”
The DOJ report concluded that Arpaio engaged in racial profiling.
“Our investigation uncovered substantial evidence of the kind identified by the Supreme Court in Arlington Heights,” the report noted, “showing that Sheriff Arpaio has intentionally decided to implement his immigration program in a manner that discriminates against Latinos.”
The report added a telling detail about Arpaio’s effectiveness as a law enforcement officer. While his operations involved “the most egregious racial profiling in the United States,” according to one expert, “enforcement actions rarely result in human smuggling arrests.”
Another law enforcement officer last week levied a similar charge against Arpaio on the botched sex crimes investigations. Bill Louis, former assistant police chief in El Mirage, wrote an Op-Ed in the Arizona Republic declaring that ”Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed these victims. At this point there is little that can be done to undo the harm they have endured.”
Not that criticism or outrage has ever moved Arpaio to veer from the style that has made him a hero to some conservatives: his high-profile immigrant sweeps, his order that prisoners had to wear pink underwear, or his reality TV exploits. Last spring, he simply shrugged off calls for his resignation over allegations of his department’s misuse of $100 million.
Will Arpaio comply with the Justice Department’s demands?
“I’ve seen police chiefs, DAs and others who have been able to reform the system,” Perez said at his press conference today.
But “reform” and “Arpaio” are two words rarely seen together.
(Update: At a Thursday afternoon press conference, a perturbed but defiant Sheriff Arpaio bristled at the Department of Homeland Security’s revocation of its immigration data agreement with his department. He warned such a move would allow undocumented criminal offenders to go undetected and be “dumped back onto a street near you.” Arpaio suggested that “President Obama might as well erect a sign on our border, [saying] ‘Our home is your home.’” He did not address any of the allegations of racial profiling and civil rights violations in the DOJ’s report.
Nonetheless, Arpaio said that his office will cooperate with the Department of Justice, “to the best we can,” and he thanked the President for injecting immigration into the national presidential debate. ”But don’t come here using me as a whipping boy for a national and international problem,” he said, adding ”I will continue to enforce all of the laws.”
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement in solidarity with the demonstrators on Wall Street and around the country:
“We have been inspired by the growing grassroots movements on Wall Street and across the country. We share the anger and frustration of so many Americans who have seen the enormous toll that an unchecked Wall Street has taken on the overwhelming majority of Americans while benefitting the super wealthy. We join...
Adam Sarvana and Jennifer Gore 05 Oct 2011 Hits:137 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Tucson, Ariz. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva has introduced the Border Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2011, following listening sessions around Southern Arizona throughout the summer with business and community leaders on how best to improve the local, regional and national economy. A formal rollout press conference is being held Sept. 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Armory Park in Tucson.
Approximately 235,700 jobs in Arizona rely on trade with Mexico. The number is 252,800 in Michigan, 249,000 in Nebraska and 119,000 in Ohio – states that benefit directly from effective transportation...
Adam Sarvana 26 Sep 2011 Hits:113 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison today released the following statement on President Obama’s job creation and deficit reduction plan:
“As co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, we congratulate President Obama on many of his proposals to cut our deficits and balance our national budget. The president’s determination to reduce the large national debt that he inherited after years of costly wars, unchecked defense spending, corporate welfare and giveaways to the wealthy few is admirable. We stand...
Congressional Progressive Caucus 19 Sep 2011 Hits:128 Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07)
With each massacre of innocent citizens, the demand for action on gun control by the US Congress intensifies.
After the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012, it appeared as if the national outrage over the massacre of 20 children and 6 school staff would finally push the Congress into action, but sadly, in April 2013, the most recent attempt at common sense gun control was thwarted by a Republican Party filibuster (which included both Arizona Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.)
This week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Washington DC naval facility, killing...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 18 Sep 2013 Hits:436 Arizona
The series on poverty the Arizona Daily Star just finished running struck a chord with me, and I’d like to share what I think the federal government is doing right and wrong to address the issue.
Many people understand that job creation investments, when made wisely, are an effective way to reduce poverty. Congress should be making more of those investments. The era of austerity, when lawmakers experimented with cutting everything in sight no matter the human consequences, has to end. It hasn’t created jobs; it hasn’t led to a stronger...
Rep Raúl M. Grijalva | Arizona Daily Star 22 Aug 2013 Hits:466 Arizona
I'm juxtaposing the views of Chris Hedges, who I think is the clearest thinking journalist around,and a right-wing viral email I recently read, and the message is clear: Progressives, wake up. Or, in the words of Samuel Jackson, "wake the f*&*k up."
This is a lengthy post. Sorry for that. Ultimately, my point is that while progressives are hyper-focusing on issues like abortion rights, spending enormous amounts of energy to elect spineless politicians destined to disappoint them, and celebrating what they believe is the implosion of the Republican Party, we are...
Bob Lord | Blog for Arizona 07 Aug 2013 Hits:455 Arizona
You can see multiple downtown Tucson development from atop the Pennington Street Parking Garage. The Ronstadt Transit Center (foreground) is in the crosshairs for future development.
Business friendly? Tucson’s been there, done that, … and got the t-shirt at Goodwill. As former City Councilwoman Molly McKasson said, we put all of our eggs in the development basket and look where it got us.
Twenty percent of Tucsonans are living in poverty.
Thirty percent of Tucson children are living in poverty.
Fifty-two percent of Tucson children live in a one-parent household.
Seventy-one percent of Tucson Unified...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 05 Aug 2013 Hits:307 Arizona
Progressives in Congress and across the country are fighting the tide of right wing extremism on multiple fronts– from food stamps to cuts in Social Security to stalled immigration reform to anti-woman legislation to austerity for the middle class, while the wealthy live high on the hog.
Congressman Raul Grijalva has been at the forefront of the progressive movement in Congress. As another budget battle heats up in the House of Representatives, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) want to thank our stalwarts like Grijalva, and at the same time want to...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Tucson Progressive 12 Jul 2013 Hits:379 Arizona
Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is stepping up her pressure on the GOP-led legislature to expand Medicaid by declaring a moratorium on legislating until they give in.
Brewer vetoed five unrelated bills on Thursday, according to the Arizona Republic, and threatened to keep blocking legislation until Republicans expand Medicaid to cover thousands of Arizonans, which Obamacare permits at minimal cost to the state.
"I warned that I would not sign additional measures into law until we see resolution of the two most pressing issues facing us: adoption of a fiscal 2014 state...
Sahil Kapur | TPM 25 May 2013 Hits:1082 Arizona
Last week, an exchange between Jeff Flake, Janet Napolitano, and Chuck Schumer exemplified all that is wrong with the way in which immigration gets discussed within Washington and how far removed the beltway is from the daily reality and aspirations of people who are marching for immigrant rights this week.
When the topic of immigration enters the beltway, it gets reduced to an issue and divorced from the people whose lives hang in the balance. The dehumanizing view of migrants promoted by people like Sheriff Arpaio and Jan Brewer in Arizona...
Pablo Alvarado | Huffington Post 05 May 2013 Hits:531 Arizona
While Senate leaders, including Arizona's John McCain and Jeff Flake, hammered out immigration reform details last month, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reminded the nation how rogue law enforcement can still undercut legislative efforts for a pathway to citizenship.
In a demonstration of his notorious intimidation tactics, Arapio's deputies raided three Phoenix-area taco shops and arrested 11 undocumented immigrants on March 14th.
The anti-immigrant raid took place only days after an internal-affairs report found Arpaio's office had bungled hundreds of sex-crime cases. It wasn't an isolated event.
A herculean Respect Arizona recall movement...
Jeff Biggers | Huffington Post 23 Apr 2013 Hits:576 Arizona
Seventeen bills introduced in the Arizona legislature in 2013 can be tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and every member of the Republican leadership in the state are current or recent ALEC members, according to a new report from the Center for Media and Democracy and its allies "ALEC in Arizona: The Voice Of Corporate Special Interests In The Halls Of Arizona's Legislature."
"ALEC is a secretive but powerful force in Arizona politics," said Lisa Graves, CMD's Executive Director. "This report exposes how corporations and Arizona legislators, have worked...
Nick Surgery | PRWatch 14 Apr 2013 Hits:354 Arizona
This week, a state civil rights board heard tales of increased racial profiling and police mistrust.
Police pulling people over for minor infractions and asking for documents, rape victims too afraid to call the police, children living in fear of having their parents taken away.
These were some of the stories shared by community members and immigrant advocates in Arizona, who testified before a state civil rights board this week on the enforcement of a state immigration law they say has increased racial profiling and police mistrust.
“SB 1070 is being used as...
Valeria Fernández } New America Media 30 Mar 2013 Hits:832 Arizona
Author and historian John Nichols warned a packed house of Tucson progressives and unionists that now is not the time for complacency. Now is the time to rise up and fight against the forces of greed who are trying to rob the American people of their rights and their earned benefits.
Nichols, writer for The Nation and frequent commentator on MSNBC, held the audience in wrapped attention for 90 minutes as he carefully explained what the current Washington DC budget and debt reduction talks...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 15 Mar 2013 Hits:621 Arizona
Thanks to publicity on this blog, social media, and e-mail blasts, progressives and other Democrats came to the Americans for Prosperity "public forum" on Medicaid expansion last night at The Loft Cinema. Too bad we couldn't get in.
Approximately 20 pro-healthcare reform advocates, plus six journalism students, and two bloggers were shut out of the tightly controlled forum. In addition, City Councilman Steve Kozachik was "uninvited" to participate in the panel. Although public announcements of the event in the Tucson Weekly, the Arizona Daily...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog For Arizona 08 Mar 2013 Hits:1754 Arizona
In recent months, a handful of Republican governors have softened their stances on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Showing a bit of financial savvy and (dare I say) compassion for the millions of poor Americans who would be covered by this, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and others have decided to take the feds' funds and allow expanded healthcare coverage for their citizens who can't afford insurance.
Unfotrunately for the people who would benefit from Medicaid expansion, Big Brother Brothers don't like it when their...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 06 Mar 2013 Hits:540 Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) - A political group has filed paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State's office to launch a recall campaign against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Respect Arizona will need to collect more than 350,000 valid signatures in the next 120 days to force a recall election.
The 80-year-old Arpaio was elected in November to his sixth consecutive term in office.
He filed paperwork last week indicating that he plans to run again in 2016.
In a statement Thursday, Arpaio say he believes the recall effort is over his stance...
My Fox Phoenix, AP 01 Feb 2013 Hits:599 Arizona
In tough times, even the most independent woman may find herself turning to traditional feminine tactics to secure her financial future-- like marrying a sugar daddy.
And what better sugar daddy could a woman find than a corporate person? As reported earlier by this blogger, seven New York City brides married and pledged allegiance to seven corporate masters... er... grooms on the steps of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, January 19, the third anniversary of the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court.
Occupy Tucson activist and...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona.com 20 Jan 2013 Hits:900 Arizona
January 21, 2010 is a date that will go down in infamy. It is the date the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United and declared that corporations are people, money equals speech, and campaign finance reform that limits the amount of money a corporation can donate to political campaigns is unconstitutional.
This decision paved the way for the obscene amounts of money that were spent in the 2010 and 2012 elections and emboldened groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona.com 20 Jan 2013 Hits:728 Arizona
Border Patrol agents have been caught on video destroying water jugs and removing clean blankets that No More Deaths humanitarian volunteers left in the Arizona desert for border crossers.
From No More Deaths...
Tucson, AZ- A hidden camera video released by Tucson-based humanitarian organization No More Deaths shows an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol removing clean blankets and food intended for migrants in distress.
Videos of Border Patrol behaving badly and more details after the jump.
The January 8 video captures a Border Patrol agent on a...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 18 Jan 2013 Hits:765 Arizona
Fun! Food! Adventure! Smiling young faces!
And killing machines?
The poster pictured here advertises the Aviation Open House at Cochise Community College back in October 2012.The purpose of the open house was to showcase the college's new aviation classrooms, flight simulators, and training facilities. Jobs and education for rural Arizona youth-- what could be more wholesome? Unfortunately, the open house also shined a spotlight on the college's cozy (and a bit creepy) relationship with merchant of death and destruction Northrup Grumman-- as well as the college's disdain for freedom of...
Pamela Powers Hannley | Blog for Arizona 18 Jan 2013 Hits:552 Arizona
The Tucson Chapter of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has been participating in PDA's national effort to educate Congress. In December, more than 80 letters were delivered to Congressional offices around the country-- including those of Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congressman Ron Barber.
Above, Jim Hannley, a member of the PDA Tucson Steering Committee, discusses the January 16 "prosperity not austerity" letter with Barber's staff. Below is the text of the letter, which also appears on our Facebook page.
If you agree with the points in this letter, please contact Barber's office...
PDA Tucson 17 Jan 2013 Hits:500 Arizona
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today released the following statement on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s recent decision to accept federal Medicaid expansion funds through the Affordable Care Act. Last July, Grijalva led a letter co-signed by 43 other Members of Congress to all 50 state governors calling on them to set aside politics and support the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in their respective states.
“Today marks a move toward stability and certainty for a Medicaid program that has suffered from years of purely ideological decisions. Gov. Brewer’s choice to expand...
Rep Raul Grijalva | Press Release 15 Jan 2013 Hits:644 Arizona
A national initiative aimed at curbing gun violence was launched by former US. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, on Tuesday -- the second anniversary of the shooting that killed six people and left her critically injured.
A new campaign website, Americans For Responsible Solutions, promised to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby.”
The couple last week visited Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, killing 20 children and six adults in December....
Alastair Jamieson and Becky Bratu |NBC News 08 Jan 2013 Hits:757 Arizona
Joe Arpaio has thought of less friendly uses for firearms in his recent past. Back in November, the sheriff decided to arm his deputies with automatic weapons to…
While fumbling Tucson school officials and their extremist Arizona state counterparts await the fate of the outlawed Mexican American Studies in a federal court desegregation order, the prestigious Prescott…
What a difference a year makes -- especially for students in Tucson, Arizona, the "Little Rock" of education for our modern times.
While President Dwight Eisenhower overruled the "leadership of …
In 2010, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was among those firmly in support of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant legislation SB 1070. Today, he belongs to a bipartisan coalition of…
The sun is shining slightly brighter in Arizona this week, as the state celebrates a week-long vacation from Governor Jan Brewer and her latest gaffes.
The self-described "Scorpion eater"…
Overshadowed by the ballot fallout in the recent elections in Arizona, a long-awaited and historic federal desegregation proposal was released earlier this month that could reinstate the Tucson Unified School…
Approximately 50 Tucson activists protested Wal-Mart's labor practices at a southside store on Black Friday.
The usual left-wing groups were represented-- Jobs with Justice, Occupy Tucson, Progressive Democrats of America…
PHOENIX — Former Democratic state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has been elected to represent a new Phoenix-area congressional district, emerging victorious after a bitterly fought race that featured millions…
The Maricopa County Elections Department has given a straight answer about the number of ballots that still haven't been counted as of noon on the day after the election: they…
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