We kind of knew it’s been coming, but Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been sued by the United States of America for civil rights violations–and it’s about time.
Arpaio has made it his job to vilify and menace Latinos–documented or not–during his tenure. He has gained national attention in doing so, and has even injected himself in local (Houston) politics by endorsing an equally right-wing opponent of our Sheriff Adrian Garcia.
The Feds explain the suit:
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said the Justice Department sued Maricopa County, the sheriff’s office and Arpaio in U.S. District Court in Arizona after trying unsuccessfully for three and a half months to get Arpaio to comply with federal civil rights law.
Arpaio faces re-election in November in the county that includes the Phoenix metropolitan area. He has become the face of hardline local efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, placing him on a collision course with the federal government.
Maricopa County has created inadequately trained special units that are used to target Latinos for unlawful and unjustified arrests; has willfully denied Latino prisoners their civil rights in jail; and under Arpaio’s direction has arrested political opponents for no valid reason, the DOJ suit contends.
“At its core, this is an abuse of power case involving Sheriff Arpaio and a sheriff’s office that disregarded the Constitution, ignored sound police practices and did not hesitate to retaliate against perceived critics in a variety of unlawful ways,” said Perez.
“Constitutional policing and effective policing go hand in hand. The complaint outlines how Sheriff Arpaio’s actions were neither constitutional nor effective,” he said.
One needs to ask the right-wingers running for Sheriff if they approve of these kinds of gestapo tactics.
In one case, a sheriff’s officer stopped a Latina – a U.S. citizen who was five months pregnant – as she pulled into her driveway and insisted that she sit on the hood of her car.
“When she refused, the officer grabbed her arms, pulled them behind her back, and slammed her, stomach first, into the vehicle three times,” the suit said.
Nonetheless, the fact that one of them rejoices in a cheap TV ad that he was endorsed by Arpaio is enough to make one sick, given the facts of this lawsuit.
Obviously, we’ll keep an eye on this.