Arpaio Gets Disinvited from Republican Convention in Clark County Nevada
It seems that some Republicans are finally realizing that Joe Arpaio is toxic.
Clark County Republican Party chairman, Carl Bunce, confirmed to The Nevada Independent that Arpaio’s appearance scheduled for their May the 5th Convention has been canceled.
The reason: The party executive board wanted a “less controversial speaker”.
They probably realized that featuring Arpaio and giving him a spot on their convention on a Cinco de Mayo was a slap in the face of the Hispanic community.
Clark County is the most populous in Nevada and includes Las Vegas. Las Vegas, the state’s most populous city, has been the county seat since its establishment. According to the last census, 30 percent of the County’s population is of Hispanic origin.
Arpaio, who was voted out of office in November 2016 even as his compadre Trump was elected president, is now seeking the US Senate seat vacated by Jeff Flake’s retirement. He is confronting a challenging primary against Martha McSally and Kelly Ward.
The Clark County Republicans probably noted the old former sheriff past misdeeds, along with his interviews with anti-semitic fringe media.
Bunce said the organizing committee was working on finding a new speaker for the convention.
Maricopa County Pays $7 Million for Marty Atencio’s Death in Arpaio’s Prison
Joe Arpaio’s culture of cruelty manifested itself in so many ways, and many times it led to death.
Prisoners under Arpaio’s watch died due to injuries inflicted by prison guards or through neglect of their acute medical problems.
Yesterday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a $7 million settlement for the death of Ernest “Marty” Atencio, who died lost his life 2011 in the Fourth Avenue Jail, operated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
Atencio’s family filed a lawsuit claiming that MCSO agents used excessive force against Atencio while he was incarcerated, punching and shooting him with a stun gun close to his heart. It was also reported by Phoenix New Times that agents piled up on Atencio, mortally injuring him.
A federal court trial is scheduled for May 15.
There is plenty of material against the former sheriff’s jail that will be used in the trial. Horrific pictures published by Phoenix New Times show the MCSO agents’ disregard for Atencio’s life. Marty Atencio, who was a U.S. veteran, was left on the jail floor while agents made fun of him after he was abused and mortally injured.
Atencio was arrested by Phoenix police on suspicion of misdemeanor assault. He kicked the apartment door of a woman, frightening her. Earlier, agents found Atencio acting erratically at a Seven-Eleven store. The Phoenix police agents took him to the Fourth Ave Jail, which was then administered by Arpaio and is now run by Sheriff Paul Penzone.
Atencio’s calvary started when he refused to take off his shoes for a scanner check. After refusing the agents’ orders, several of them started to use excessive force that resulted in his mortal injuries. Later, they refused to provide help and medical treatment and left him in agony.
The Maricopa Board of Supervisors – which historically has not reined in the MCSO, its jails or Arpaio, even though that was part of its responsibilities, and instead cowardly chose to pay court settlements in every instance – commented though its spokesman:
“The Board of Supervisors hopes this settlement allows the Atencio family to move forward and the county to continue focusing on improving its complex jail system that sees approximately 100,000 people every year.”
We hope this would be true. But it is not.
Atencio’s death underscores the environment of complete disregard for human lives that was fostered by Arpaio, as well as the leadership failure within the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is predominantly composed of Republicans.
Prisoner abuse is not an issue of the past. Advocates are raising concerns that many actors in Arpaio’s culture of cruelty are still at their posts inside the jails. We posted a blog denouncing the inhumane conditions for mentally ill inmates that are continuing under Paul Penzone’s tenure.
Additionally, Atencio’s horrific death and the settlement by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors reveal that Arpaio’s misdeeds are still costing county residents millions of dollars. And it is not over yet.
Arpaio and Trump. Do They Communicate Through Telepathy?
More than half the country may be shocked about the authoritanism, the nepotism and corruption (emoluments clause anyone?) of the Trump presidency. Here in Arizona, we are not so surprised because we had our share of craziness with Joe.
We lived this authoritarism and disregard for the real American values during Joe Arpaio’s 23-year tenure as Maricopa County Sheriff.
So when old Joe says that he has a mental connection to Trump, we know what he is talking about.
Tyrants stick together.
“I can read his (Trump) mind without even talking to him. I think he may be reading mine,” said the former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio. “Is there something that goes through the airwaves? Mental telepathy?”
Are they mental twins?
We told you what a Trump presidency will entail a lot of unconstitutional drama on a blog piece in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund from 2017. We also wrote about what it will take to resist and overcome this nightmare.
We knew that Trump, like Apaio, will give the Republican Party a bad name, surrounding himself with ultranationalists, Nazis and Alt-righters.
Both men want to preserve their power as Joe seeks the Senate seat vacant by Jeff Flake even after been voted out of office, while Trump suggested he wants to be president for life this weekend in his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Both are obsessed with media coverage, claim to be maligned by unfair judges, and hate immigrants and do not share governance with people of color.
Arpaio’s Legacy Continues in Mistreatment of Mentally Ill Inmates at MCSO Jails
There is no doubt that Arizona is a bad place to be a prisoner. Contrary to what many conservatives think, prisoners’ mistreatment is harmful to the state and to our communities, morally and economically.
The news feed this week was full of intense testimonies from health and legal professionals denouncing the sad shape of prisoners’ health services, especially for the mentally ill at jails.
After infamous Joe Arpaio was voted out of office in November 2016, we all hoped that profound measures were about to be taken to clean up the culture of cruelty that the former sheriff not only created but boasted about in the media: Tent city, bad food, pink underwear, humiliations, the lack of adequate medical and mental services, and deaths at the jails.
The conditions under Arpaio were bad enough to bring inmates to commit or attempt suicide at alarming rates, as was reported by our co-founder Michael Lacey.
Also, inmates, especially those who suffered from mental illness, died at the hands of guards who broke their necks, suffocated them and mortally injured them instead of stabilizing or helping them.
In 2008, Arpaio’s MCSO was found in violation of the Constitution for depriving prisoners of adequate medical screenings and care, feeding them unhealthy food, and housing them in unsanitary conditions, a federal judge ruled.
It is an outrage that this culture of cruelty has survived Arpaio’s tenure and is alive and well under current Sheriff Paul Penzone.
This week, Eric Balaban, senior staff counsel with the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and lead counsel for the Maricopa County Jail detainees in Graves v. Penzone, wrote an op-ed for the Arizona Capitol Times denouncing the Dickensian conditions of mental inmates in solitary confinement, especially at the Special Management Unit (SMU). The sanitary environment is inhumane, the time allotted for human contact and communication is minimal, and their medical and psychological needs are not met. People become worse mentally and physically while imprisoned.
The conditions are so bad it is hard to write about, but they include putrid food and soiled inmates. Please read the op-ed piece here.
Balaban explains that the conditions at the Maricopa County SMU is the “single worst unit I have ever seen… in my 23 years of visiting prisons and jails nationwide.”
The entire purpose of the SMU is to cut off inmates from human contact, and it is a dump hole for people with acute mental illness. “The only time prisoners are allowed to see sunlight and get fresh air is for one hour on weekdays inside a recreation cage. There, they can walk in circles alone,” writes Balaban.
“During the tenure of Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, prisoners with serious mental illnesses were put in solitary confinement for cutting themselves and spreading blood on their cell walls, and for trivial offenses, such as removing American flag stickers the sheriff ordered be placed in every cell,” Balaban explains.
“Once in solitary, prisoners with severe mental illnesses begin a cruel cycle,” he continues. “The relentless isolation they endure in the SMU causes them to deteriorate, making them more unstable. They become more disassociated from reality. They refuse to eat and refuse medications and treatment. As a result, they are more prone to making outbursts or threatening staff, which the jail then uses to justify keeping them in the SMU.”
This is not only morally wrong but costly to taxpayers. If and when the inmates are released from the prisons, they come out in worse mental and physical shape, and the community will pay for their medical services or their recidivism.
Other states have taken action again these practices, basing their decision on evidence and data. Even though there is evidence that treating prisoners with mental issues humanely and barring long-term solitary confinement reduces violent and disciplinary incidents, Maricopa County refuses to implement improvements.
The situation has been decades in the making. In 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake found MCSO’s health care system unconstitutional. He noted the detrimental effects of extended lockdown and solitary confinement on inmates with serious mental illnesses.
Even though the noxious presence of bad agents inside the jails has been documented by a court-appointed psychiatrist-monitor, to this day they are still working in the unit.
“The time has long passed for this relic of Sheriff Arpaio’s regime to be closed down,” wrote Balaban.
Penzone has shown timid efforts to reform the jails. He is still shy of closing the SMU unit altogether and reforming the way food, health and mental issues are addressed inside MCSO jails.
Former Sheriff Arpaio Loses Personal Injury Lawsuit
Arpaio keeps losing, but thank goodness, this time taxpayer money is not in the mix. This week the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld a judgment against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a lawsuit over an injury.
Arpaio lost the case in September 2016 when a judge ruled he failed to show that the building drains were he tripped were dangerous and appealed to a higher court.
This is ironic, since most of the time he is the one being sued in court.
Douglas County Residents Protested Arpaio Yesterday
Wherever he goes, smart and informed people protest Joe Arpaio. Yesterday he was able to gather more than 50 persons in a cold winter day in Douglas County, to protest the presence of the former Sheriff and all the culture of cruelty that he represents.
Arpaio was invited as the keynote speaker for the annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner and fundraiser hosted by the Douglas County Republican Central Committee. The good neighbors of Douglas County made their voices heard and protested disgraced, voted out of office former Maricopa County Sheriff.
“Bringing him here reflects poorly on our community, it reflects that we support a racist, misogynist, horrible man. I am here to say that we stand with immigrants, we stand with minorities against hate and bigotry,” said Ann Keasling.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt after ignoring a federal judge who had ordered him to stop enforcing immigration laws and stop the racial the profiling of Latinos.
He is currently running for a US Senate seat from Arizona after leaving a trail of costly lawsuits that Maricopa County taxpayers are still paying.
Joe Pretends to Not to Know Publication is a Vehicle for Far-Right Holocaust Deniers
Joe Arpaio is pretending not to know a sketchy online platform which distributes conspiracy theories is also a Holocaust denier, even though such publication has been discredited by the organizations like Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and The Anti-Defamation League.
Both organizations track hate speech and hate groups.
Disgraced and voted-out Arpaio granted on January the 21st. 2018 an interview to The American Free Press, a far-right publication which claims the Holocaust is a hoax and Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks were the result of a Jewish plot, among many false statements. He is, of course, promoting his candidacy to the Arizona Senate seat vacant by the retirement of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake in an effort to reach out to the ultra-conservative base of the Republican Party he wants to yank-off from primary candidates Kelly Ward and Martha McSally.
According to the watchdog group Media Matters, it is the fifth time Arpaio has granted interviews to the web platform and newspaper.
The HuffPost approached Arpaio to seek his reaction to Media Matters and other’s criticism for giving time to American Free Press. As expected Arpaio wouldn’t condemn American Free Press for distributing the falsehood “that the murder of 6 million Jews and millions of other people never happened. According to HuffPost, Joe appeared to acknowledge that the Holocaust was a historical event, although he said he wouldn’t comment on American Free Press or its articles claiming the Holocaust was a hoax”.
In the interview Arpaio underscored his support for Trump’s policies and accused the HuffPost to be “very controversial” and that “isn’t nice” to him.
It was the whining you will probably hear from Donald Trump.
No surprises here. There are a lot of parallels between Arpaio and Trump, which we have pointed out in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
Holder Calls Trump’s Pardon for Arpaio “Misuse of Presidential Power”
The debate will last for years to come, but yesterday, February the 7th, 2018, former Attorney General Eric Holder declared that Trump’s pardon to disgraced and voted-out former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a “misuse” of presidential power.
Arpaio was found guilty of racially profiling Latinos in 2013 after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class-action lawsuit in a long trial which brought statistical evidence of racial discrimination and profiling of Latinos.
Joe Arpaio later disobeyed the court order of stopping immigration enforcement activities and was called to confront the court again in 2016. He was found guilty of criminal contempt of court in 2017.
President Obama’s DOJ, headed by Holder, was responsible to bring Arpaio to justice.
Trump decided to pardon Arpaio in spite of the complaints by activist and civil liberties groups which reminded all the former Sheriff’s autocratic abuse of power. The pardon had low support among Maricopa County residents, already tired of Joe and weary of the cost of the prolonged legal battles and settlements.
Holder told an audience in Washington that the president’s power to pardon is absolute but made some reflections on the merits of it:
“I think it’s instructive that power that is used relatively sparingly was used by this president to grant some relief to a person that I think is fundamentally undeserving of it.”
For more than 20 years Arpaio earned a reputation as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” through extremist immigration enforcement policies that, at the end of the day, were not in the best interest and safety of the community.
He fostered a culture of extreme cruelty. Inside his jails, inmate’s human rights were abused in such way that many died or were injured due to medical neglect or outright physical violence, which resulted in a string of multi-million dollar lawsuits that the country mostly settled. Additionally, inmates were subjected to the harshest climate on the nation while incarcerated at tent city and were provided horrible mash as food.
Arpaio’s tough on crime façade fell when the associated press and other reporters found that his MCSO ignored hundreds of sex crime cases, including cases of alleged child abuse. Reporters discovered that many of those cases involved the children of undocumented immigrants.
He also went after many political opponents, including prominent members of the Phoenix community. In an effort to quench freedom of the press, Arpaio incarcerated our Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, who with their weekly Phoenix New Times fearlessly uncover many of Joe Arpaio misdeeds.
He later released them without charges after the incident caused a national uproar. Read here about the incident.
Mr. Lacey and Mr. Larkin latter sued the Sheriff and used the proceeds of the settlement to start this immigration and human rights portal and to disperse funds to immigrant rights organizations, many of them lead by young people, immigrants, and minorities.
But Arpaio was counting on Donald Trump ascendancy to power and was eager to throw his support early on in his campaign, becoming his campaign surrogate.
Arpaio was paid back for his loyalty to his fellow authoritarian with the presidential pardon, avoiding jail time but, unbeknownst to him, accepting guilt in the process.
The former sheriff lost his reelection bid in 2016, thanks to the mobilization of low propensity Latino voters through the BAZTA Arpaio campaign and that Maricopa County voters were simply tired of the monetary consequences of his abuse of power. Now Arpaio is running for the GOP nomination to fill the Senate seat that will be vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake when he retires at the end of this year.
Paul Penzone Fails to Implement Arpaio-Era Court Orders and is Warned with Contempt of Court Charges
The activists who for years fought the cruel and racist Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio understood the pervasive nature of the cruelty fostered by the autocratic sheriff, realizing it would take years and years to overcome.
Conscious of that fact they never lowered their guard.
Two examples of the permanence of Arpaio’s reign are present in the news cycle. First, Joe Arpaio is seeking to continue his political presence with a bid for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jeff Flake, who is not seeking re-election next November.
The second example is the lackluster performance of new Sheriff in town Paul Penzone, who has been dragging his feet in implementing the court-ordered reforms in the Maricopa County Sheriff Office, which included the end of racial profiling practices at traffic stops.
Just last week, U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ordered Sheriff Penzone and 4 of his top commanders to appear in court every week until the end of March to show the status of the court-ordered changes that should have been implemented by now.
Several activists have been complaining for months that Penzone was not implementing all the prescribed improvements, even as Penzone is making the rounds as a champion of progress among community groups.
The only notable improvement that won community members’ accolades was the closure of tent city, which had inmates enduring Phoenix extreme temperatures.
But the court was not impressed by the slow pace of other necessary changes.
Judge Murray Snow was so frustrated by the lack of progress that even threatened to declare Penzone and his MCSO in civil contempt of court or fine the agency.
Penzone and his MCSO should have been ready to show the judge a tally and review of traffic stop data to identify offices with high rates of stops on Latinos. Penzone and his top brass were unable to produce this data, as well as reviews of body camera interactions.
You can read the court’s transcripts here: Melendres 01-26-18 (6)
There have been other incidents which tell things are not going as well as they should.
Last year, inmates participated in a hunger strike complaining about the quality of food. Additionally, one member of the Community Advisory Board quit, frustrated by the lack of MCSO’s response.
Community members continue to monitor the situation.
Joe Fakes Ignorance: Says He Didn’t Know American Free Press is an Anti-Semitic Rag
You are not going to believe this. The Washington Post and other media outlets are reporting that voted-out, disgraced, convicted racial profiled Joe Arpaio is stating he did not know that the media outlet he gave an interview to last week, is an anti-semitic, racist propaganda rag.
He has no shame.
It does not take a genius to figure that out. All of The American Free Press’ articles are full of unsubstantiated claims, crazy conspiracies, and are devoided of the most basic journalist standards, relying on anonymous posts as sources.
A simple search in google brings up the judgment of hate-monitoring organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center which have classified American Free Press as racist and anti-semitic.
But as we noted here in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, this is not the only time Joe has given interviews to the Free Press. We posted the list of Joe Arpaio interviews by the rag in our past blog.
Additionally, reporters with Phoenix New Times, which our founders also founded, have questioned Joe Arpaio in the past, when he was Maricopa County Sheriff, about his association with this anti-semitic publication.
This is something we can expect from Joe, who cultivated the support of known neo-nazi and family killer J.T. Ready.
Conspiracy and Anti-Semitic Media Platform Promotes Joe Arpaio’s Bid for the US Senate
Warning: Following the links on the article may bring up incendiary and disturbing content.
Joe’s fame as crazy conspiracies-creator is legendary and as such, he is taking his Senate candidacy to crude and discredited conspiracy platforms, since the savvier media and reporters question his intentions for running again for office and can challenge him easily.
According to media watchdog Media Matters, Joe Arpaio recently gave an interview to The American Free Press, a site the Anti-Defamation League described as “an anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented publication,” which pushes claims that the Holocaust is a “hoax” and 9/11 was a Jewish plot. These statements are right up Arpaio’s cray-cray alley.
The American Free Press which self-describes as America’s last real newspaper” published in its print issue of January 29th-February 5th, 2018 an “exclusive” interview about Joe’s bid for Arizona’s Senate seat with “editor” Mark Anderson.
As expected, Joe aligned himself with Donald Trump’s agenda.
In the “newspaper and media platform,” you can find articles about the “white genocide” by colored South Africans using as source anonymous letters.
These associations come naturally to Arpaio since he is a regular at the American Free Press, where he has given multiple “exclusive” interviews full of adulation for the disgraced and booted out politician.
Ok, Arpaio. What is next? Facetime with Infowars’s Alex Jones?
Fading Influence: Arizona GOP Praises Arpaio, Then Ask Him to Drop from Senate Race.
A sign of faded influence becomes evident for Arpaio. The GOP establishment in Arizona had drafted a resolution praising Joe Arpaio for “his long and distinguished career in law enforcement” and support for GOP candidates and then ask him to abandon the primary race for the GOP primary election.
This is the language of the drafted resolution:
“WHEREAS two well-qualified candidates, former state Senator Kelli Ward and U.S. Representative Martha McSally, are in the race for U.S. Senator for Arizona; THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Arizona Republican Party expresses its gratitude to Sheriff Arpaio for his many years of service, and respectfully urges him to exit the race for U.S. Senator from Arizona.”
Reporters quickly contacted Arpaio by phone to read him the resolution, asking then for reactions:
As expected, Arpaio said he will not drop out of the race.
Second Attempt: Arpaio Filed a Petition to Have His Criminal Conviction Wipe-out
Arpaio’s shamelessness has no limits. Last week, voted-out-of-office, disgraced, conspiratorial FORMER Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed an appeal with a District Court to have his criminal contempt conviction cleared for the second time. He argued that the hearings were not fair to him, that he did not have a trial by a jury, and the “verdict was unsupported by evidence”.
He probably is faking amnesia on all the contempt of court hearings which were full of embarrassing evidence of his willful contempt to Judge Snow’s orders along with the discovery of crazy conspiracies he and his minions concocted in an effort to discredit the court.
Arpaio was found in contempt of court for disobeying the judge’s order to stop immigration enforcement and the rampant and systematic racial profiling of Latinos.
He believes the offensive presidential pardon wipes out his sins, when logically speaking, is an acknowledgment of guilt.
Arpaio was known as “America’s toughest sheriff” for more than 20 years presiding the brutal treatment of inmates on tent city and other facilities which he described as Concentration Camps, among a laundry list of atrocities that included death inmates.
This is what characterized his reign of terror: abuse of power towards the most vulnerable in our society.
Phoenix New Times Publishes a Refresher of Arpaio’s Authoritarian Atrocities While Republicans Can’t Quit Him
There are plenty of reasons not to vote for Joe Arpaio in the upcoming GOP primary, even though, there are not good candidates to choose from. To be blunt, Joe’s attempt to run for the vacant Senate seat runs into the absurd.
He already lost an election in the most populated county in Arizona, thanks to the electorate who finally realized he is not fit to be a Sheriff. He lost the election with the help of hundreds of young people who mobilized low propensity voters as part of the BAZTA Arpaio campaign.
But if you still need a refresher on why Arpaio is a danger to our community read the Phoenix New Times cover article with 10 reasons why he shouldn’t be Senator.
In spite of this laundry list of authoritarian atrocities, Joe has been invited to be a speaker at the Lincoln Reagan Dinner and Fund Raiser on Feb. 18, at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada Douglas by the County Republican Central Committee, as reported by Salon and AP.
It seems that the Republican Party cannot flush out the old racist Arpaio, who was ordered to stop the racial profiling of Latinos while being Maricopa County Sheriff, to later openly disobey the Federal Judge’s orders and get declared guilty of criminal contempt.
No, the pardon Trump ordered does not make it innocent.
Political commentators are speculating the reasons Arpaio is running for office again: Some say that he is paying back Trump by dividing the Republican vote in favor of Martha McSally, the “establishment” favorite, especially since opponent Kelly Ward was openly supported by Steve Bannon.
Others say that Arpaio can’t quit the media attention.
It is possible he is trying to be fresh in the minds of vulnerable and gullible seniors who will contribute to both his campaign and his legal fund, where he is not shy to suggest donations from 50 to 10,000 dollars.
Arpaio is Running for the Senate and He Wants Your Money Now
The GOP primary for the vacant US Senate seat just got interesting when Joe Arpaio announced he was running for the post just a year after being kicked out of the MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff Office) by Maricopa County voters in November 2016. Apparently, he did not have enough of BAZTA Arpaio.
Just last Friday, Congresswoman Martha McSally entered the race for the GOP primary (which she had announced to Congresspersons previously) making an interesting trio of anti-immigrants and ideologues: Kelli Ward, Martha McSally, and Joe Arpaio.
The trio is seeking the Senate seat left empty by Jeff Flake who is retiring from Congress.
Arpaio entered the race slashing McSally projected wide lead (in a two-race Kelli vs. McSally) and putting Arpaio just a margin of error short from the establishment candidate McSally’s lead.
According to some analysts, other Republicans may be tempted to also enter the race, such as former Congressman Ben Quayle.
The GOP primaries have become a circus of extremists. There are no candidates so far that can present an alternative to a moderate voter.
Even though Arpaio’s political ambitions realistically will fall short in the general election, Arpaio cannot quit the media attention and therefore is running again at 85 years old. But there are more interesting reasons that explain why he is running again: Arpaio wants to get money from elderly and gullible seniors. Joe was quick to set the “donate” button on his campaign website but not quick enough to register with the Federal Election Commission, as astutely pointed writer Antonia Noori Farzan on a Phoenix New Times’ article.
Stay tuned for more on this saga.
Joe Arpaio Announces (Officially) He Is Running for the Senate. We Say: In Your Dreams, Joe.
Disgraced and voted out of office, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he is running for the Senate seat that will be vacant when Senator Jeff Flake leaves his post. Immediately, the net exploded in laughter, touches of sarcasm, shame and embarrassment.
I am running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Arizona, for one unwavering reason: to support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again. https://t.co/ANppBdDOtp
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) January 9, 2018
Just before losing the election in 2016, Arpaio was declared guilty of contempt of federal court for continuing to racially profile Latinos in Maricopa County. Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund was instrumental in providing funding to the nationally recognized and celebrated BAZTA Arpaio campaign, in which hundreds of young people mobilized low propensity Latino voters to fight with their vote against Arpaio.
The only reason he is not in jail in spite of his open contempt of court orders is that his pal, the “stable genius” Trump, pardoned him in a controversial move that did not follow the process of presidential pardons.
So many people are asking, Can convicted individuals run for office? Can they even vote?
Apparently, the pardon makes him eligible.
Does he have supporters? Sure. The share of the electorate that still supports him is just as minimal as those who support Trump. Believe or not, he has plenty of supporters who are not residents of Maricopa County, including anonymous Twitter trolls from faraway places who still post things like this.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio Makes Deputies Carry AR-15s 24/7 https://t.co/ThTdx0xE0c #AoE lähteestä @AgendaOfEvil
Now that's a SHERIFF! #sheriffjoe #arpaio #ar15 What do you make out of this @RealJamesWoods ? Good thing? I think it is.
— Jaakko Brofelt (@Koneenhoitaja) December 31, 2017
But external and fake support is not enough to give him a win. Thanks to many activists, journalists and concerned citizens, we know Arpaio is morally unfit to hold any public office (not even dog-catcher). He squandered taxpayer money, paying out lawsuits against racial profiling, horrific inmate deaths that occurred under his watch, and attacks he made against his political opponents. And despite calling himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” he and his deputies failed to investigate more than 400 sex crime cases, many of them involving children.
Heck, you are reading this thanks to a lawsuit Mr. Lacey and Mr. Larkin won against Arpaio when he jailed them for publishing articles in Phoenix New Times against his misdeeds, an open affront to the first amendment of the Constitution.
The Melendres court case and its derived court proceeding and reform implementation bills are projected to cost taxpayers $100 million by 2018, according to the Arizona Republic. Yes, if you are a Maricopa County resident, you are still paying Arpaio’s bills.
Please tell me if that makes sense.
Arpaio’s Legacy a Year After His Dethronement
A year ago, Joe Arpaio was no longer sheriff of Maricopa County, after he lost his re-election in November 2015, and his opponent Paul Penzone took office. Members of the media marked the occasion interviewing the new Sheriff in town, about the change of management under the ever-present shadow of Arpaio’s 23 years legacy.
Even though Sheriff Penzone ended the shameful tent city (an array of surplus military tents which housed inmates under Arizona’s cruel sun) he stills inherits and deals with an unsolved set of issues from Arpaio’s reign. The culture of cruelty that Arpaio built through the years has not been easy to eliminate.
Here is a list of issues that remain to be solved:
Reforms ordered by the courts. Under the supervision of the court, Arpaio managed to implement a low percentage of reforms ordered by the judge, dragging his feet through changes. Penzone has moved the needle a little on the compliance side, but no more than 50% of the requirements. Still, many changes need to be implemented.
Lawsuits bills yet to be paid. Maricopa County still is hit by bills and payouts result of Arpaio’s abuses and disdain for court orders. At the end of last’s year, a process was set for potential victims who were detained after the judge ordered Arpaio to stop his immigration patrols. You can read our post about this issue and get the link to claim compensation, here.
But the compensation fund is just peanuts compared with the bill derived from the set of rulings related to Melendres and the contempt of court proceedings. The bill is calculated to near $100 million by 2018, according to with the Arizona Republic.
Officers still working under Arpaio’s racist culture. Great bias in officers’ conduct was identified by an ASU Study and Penzone has been slow in making the officers accountable. Many problematic agents remain on MCSO, still patrolling the streets. In September, plaintiffs, lawyers, and MCSO agreed on a system to provide an identification system to flag problematic officers.
Food is as bad as under Arpaio. The inhumane food that Arpaio gave his prisoners has not changed a lot under Penzone. In November, 23 inmates declared themselves in a hunger strike as a protest against the mush MCSO still serves its inmates, and which Arpaio was proud to serve in his time.
ICE still occupies the jails. Activist groups denounce the new administration for keeping the Arpaio-era policy of having ICE agents inside the jails.
23 years of racist, authoritarian and anti-immigrant policies are difficult to change in few months. We are confident that activist, lawyers and the courts will be keeping the pressure to transform MCSO in an institution that deserves our trust.
Clinic to Apply for Arpaio’s Victims Compensation Fund Gives a Small Sense of Justice
As we reported in Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, some of Arpaio reign of terror’s victims may be able to seek compensation through a fund established by MCSO. Now the application period has started and the community has mobilized to assist claimants.
Judge Murray G. Snow ordered the creation of the fund in 2016 to compensate those who Arpaio illegally detained during immigration enforcement activities which had been prohibited by the court, but Arpaio dismissed publicly. At that point, Arpaio had been slapped down by the Federal judge for racially profile Latinos, during the years-long case Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, and was ordered to stop his discriminatory immigration patrols targeting Latinos.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors set aside $500,000 to pay victims of the violated court order. But now, even members of MCBS believe that that amount may be insufficient to fulfill compensation for victims.
The Federal judge also ordered the county to hire a settlement company to “notice and outreach potentially eligible individuals”.
Lost wages, attorney’s fees, property loss and emotional distress, are among the items that can be added to seek compensation for victims detained by MCSO between Dec. 23, 2011, and May 24, 2013.
On Saturday, December the 9th, 2017, attorneys and activists gathered at First Church UCC in Phoenix with victims who were stopped or detained by Maricopa County Sheriff Office –MCSO- and guided them in the process of filing applications for the compensation fund.
The victims only have a year to act. They must file the application to the compensation fund from December the 1st. 2017 to December the 1st. 2018.
The participant organizations at the Saturday clinic included The ACLU of Arizona and Los Abogados (The Hispanic Bar Association of Arizona).
Community activist Raul Piña who is part of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) also created by Judge Snow to monitor reform in Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, mentioned that members of the community may be fearful to approach the clinics and file the application for fear to retaliation by ICE or MCSO.
However is important to note that the information provided by the claimants cannot be shared as established by Federal court order.
Mr. Piña also indicated that victims should be pro-active gathering documentation of the stop or detention incident by MCSO to facilitate the process.
MCSO has identified 189 individuals who may receive compensation from the fund, but the number may not represent all the persons affected by Arpaio’s illegal enforcement.
Latinos Illegally Detained by Arpaio May Request Compensation
Maricopa County officials have set aside a $1 million compensation fund for Latinos illegally detained by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he disobeyed a Federal Judge’s order to stop enforcing immigration law and racially profile Latinos.
Judge Snow created this taxpayer compensation fund in 2016 for the illegal detentions, giving a one year application period which started last Friday, December the 1st.
Additionally, ACLU of Arizona, the Hispanic attorneys’ organization “Los Abogados”, and others will host a clinic next Saturday, December 9th, 2017 from 11:30 to 2:30 pm at First Church UCC where victims will be guided to file the compensation application. First Church UCC is located at 1407 N. Second Street in Phoenix, Arizona 85004,
Our disgraced former Sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt of court disobeying for 17 months District Judge Murray Snow’s directives to stop saturation patrols and the enforcement of immigration law.
Although Trump pardoned Arpaio, Maricopa County taxpayers are still liable for compensating victims of Arpaio’s criminal contempt of the Judge’s orders.
Maricopa County will pay $500 for the first hour of a person’s illegal detention and $35 for each additional 20-minute increment up to $10,000 dollars, for injuries resulting from detention, lost wages and emotional distress. Community organizations and lawyers have been searching for victims combing through police records, traffic-stop videos, etc. It is calculated that at least 190 persons can claim compensation.
Our Founders Speak Out about Arpaio’s Pardon
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the media executives publishers of Phoenix New Times and former owners of Voice Media, were illegally incarcerated in 2007 for posting and printing an article called “Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution” which exposed to Phoenix New Times’ readers Arpaio’s attempt to trample the First Amendment Rights of their readers.
Our courageous founders had been publishing a string of articles in Phoenix New Times describing Arpaio misdeeds and concealed property who Arpaio acquired with a public servant’s salary.
When they published an article that uncovered the unconstitutionally overbroad subpoena they’d been served which demanded New Times on-line readers’ information among other affronts to the First Amendment, Joe Arpaio incarcerated the duo.
Hours after the edition hit Phoenix’s streets, sheriff’s agents arrested Lacey and Larkin at their homes.
Public response to the arrests was immediate and unanimous. There were stories in USA Today, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Politicians, journalists and the general public expressed support for the two media executives and opposed Arpaio third world tactics.
“He was a terrible sheriff, a terrible jailer,” Larkin said. “But he was a great fucking politician, and I actually think he was a precursor to Trump. He may have ridden Trump’s coattails to a pardon, but in winning the election, Trump followed him. It’s hard to admit that because I don’t respect Arpaio for anything other than his political acumen.”
Lacey believes Trump granted the pardon as a way to pander to his racist base: “At the end of the day, that sort of racist, brutal, cracker philosophy appealed to enough voters that a joker like Trump thinks there’s some political traction to be had by pardoning the guy,” Lacey said.
We will keep you posted here.
Arpaio Insists He Will Run For Office (Again)
Joe Arpaio keeps letting the media know (again) he will get into politics, now supposedly aiming for a Senate seat in Arizona. Never mind that the former Maricopa County Sheriff lost his 2016 reelection thanks to a great collaborative effort from community groups united through the BAZTA Arpaio campaign which Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund supported.
This time, the conversation started again as a result of the Trent Franks’ scandal: Just last week, the conservative and hypocritically pious Arizona Congressman announced he would be resigning when he admitted to repeatedly trying to persuade his staffers to be surrogate mothers of his child. Yes, super creepy. Franks even offered the women $5 million.
Rapidly, the media assumed the former sheriff would go after Frank’s Congressional seat since his super-retrograde conservative ideology is very much in-line with Frank’s.
But surprisingly, old Joe Arpaio, who is 85 years old, stated to a Daily Beast reporter that he will be seeking the Senate seat that will be available with Senator Jeff Flake’s retirement.
Jeff Flake announced that he will be leaving the Senate as he no longer can a support the Republican party under Trump.
We suspect Joe is being delusional. He lost his post as Maricopa County Sheriff when voters finally realized that authoritarism and discrimination against Latinos are expensive and the taxpayers were and still are footing the bill for Joe’s contempt for the rule of law.
If that scenario is even possible, Arpaio will be running in the primaries with Maricopa county still paying many bills related to his misconduct, among them, payouts to victims of the saturation patrols recently announced.
Lawsuit Against Arpaio Seeks 4 Million Dollars in Compensation
Joe Arpaio was brought to a new trial yesterday accused by Austin Flake (the son of Senator Jeff Flake) and Logan Brown of malicious prosecution on the now-dismissed animal cruelty charges for the heat exhaustion dead of 21 dogs.
The animals were placed under Austin Flakes and his former wife Logan’s care. The Flakes were watching the dogs while the owners of the kennel, Logan’s parents, were in Florida.
Austin Flake, along with his now ex-wife allegedly suffered from depression and emotional distress as a result of the charges.
During the arguments, Austin Flake’s lawyers stated that the tragic death of the animals was not intentional and was an unfortunate accident.
The case against the Flakes was dismissed at the request of prosecutors when the owners of the kennel pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. An expert had determined the facility’s air conditioner failed due to a malfunction as a result of improper maintenance by the owners.
If true, the charges against Arpaio fit a pattern political retaliation against his political opponents.
Arpaio has been accused at various points in his law enforcement career of retaliating against political enemies. For many years he has dogged claims that he launched investigations of judges, politicians and others who were at odds with him in political or legal disputes.
Those disputes have resulted in lawsuits against Maricopa County and Joe.
The federal judge presiding over the trial has determined previously that Arpaio didn’t have probable cause to charge the couple. The lawsuits allege that Arpaio tried to link the Senator to the dog deaths by conducting surveillance on Senator Flake’s home and examining phone record of conversations between the Senator and his son right after the death of the animals.
Arpaio and Flake do not share political views and Flake has publicly opposed Arpaio’s “Birther” 5-year quest, which questions the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Additionally, this is not the first time Arpaio has been accused of trumping up charges in an animal cruelty case. It seems that is a tactic in his playbook to create public uproar.
According to with a notice of claim by Austin Flake and his ex-wife, which is filed as a precursor of a lawsuit, the couple is seeking 4 million dollars in compensation.
Maricopa County has spent as much as $141 million dollars defending Arpaio against lawsuits, including $54 million in the racial profiling case alone and $82 million in judgments, settlements, and legal fees, covering lawsuits over deaths in his jails and Arpaio’s failed investigations of his political enemies.
Joe Not Getting Away From the Courts. Federal Lawsuit Against Arpaio Will Go to Court Next Month
Karma is finally catching on old Joe. A Federal lawsuit against the former Maricopa County Sheriff, who was voted out of office a year ago, is scheduled to send Arpaio back to court.
This lawsuit alleges that Arpaio pursued a trumped-up criminal case to seek publicity and embarrass US Senator for Arizona Jeff Flake when his son, Austin Flake, was accused by MCSO of felony animal cruelty charges with his then-wife.
The sad event that initiated the felony charges was the death of 21 dogs left under the care of Austin Flake and his wife in June 2014 at a kennel owned by Austin’s in-laws. The young couple was watching the dogs when the in-laws were out of town. Sadly, the dogs perished under an air conditioning malfunction in the small room, where the pets spent the night.
Prosecutors dismissed the case against the Flakes and the in-laws pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges after an expert determined the air conditioner failed due to improper maintenance.
Arpaio was determined to link the pets deaths to the Flakes, to the extreme of conducting surveillance on Senator’s Flake home, according to reports on the LA Times. Arpaio also sought phone records between Flake son and his father.
This is not surprising to us in Maricopa County. Joe Arpaio is well known to be vindictive against real and perceived political opponents, even when there is no criminal case to make at all.
Arpaio Uses Old Tactic of Requesting a Judge Dismissal. This Time Did Not Work
The judge who ordered Arpaio to stop the racial profiling of Latinos in Maricopa County, rejected the former sheriff’s request to disqualify him from a racial profiling lawsuit that exposed his racist and abusive administration of MCSO. You can read about Melendres v. Arpaio here, and here.
U.S. District Murray Snow on Tuesday November 14th,2017 rejected the request that Arpaio and Jerry Sheridan (his second in command) made days after Arpaio was defeated in last year’s election, almost a year ago.
Six months before Arpaio’s defeat, the judge found Arpaio and Sheridan to be in civil contempt of court for defying a court order to stop the sheriff’s traffic patrols that targeted immigrants and referred the case to criminal contempt proceedings.
Snow had previously rejected another request two years ago to leave Arpaio’s racial profiling case, alleging the judge created the appearance of judicial bias.
Arpaio used on several occasion these tactics to have judges removed from his cases, questioning their integrity in an effort to discredit their professionalism.
Will Joe Run Again in 2018?
Joe Arpaio must be really delusional at this point. He sent his supporters an e-mail asking them whether he should enter the race for the Arizona Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Flake.
Jeff Flake decided to leave the Senate, in an effort to distance himself from the current administration, condemning Trump for “…personal attacks, threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency.”
But our former sheriff is seeking the contrary: To embrace Trump tight, especially after 45 pardoned him.
Apparently, his new goal in life is to become Trump’s crony in the Senate saying “My friend, President Donald Trump needs a U.S. Senator he can trust to actually vote for action on illegal immigration, taxes, the economy and more”.
Previously he said that he was interested to run for Congress or Mayor.
Unfortunately, there is no legal impediment to running for office, after he was pardoned by Trump for disobeying a Federal judge orders’ to stop the racial profiling of Latinos in Maricopa County.
The Arizona Republic estimated he is still popular, in spite of the death rate in the jails he controlled, the racial profiling of Latinos and immigrant- persecution, the never-ending lawsuits, and the failure to investigate sex crimes against children.
If he decides to run, he will be encountering lots of protestors who will keep reminding the electorate of the unforgettable Sheriff Joe’s costly actions.
Arpaio’s Attempt to Clean His Record Fails
Arpaio Loses One Battle in Court
Unfortunately, Trump pardoned Arpaio after years of abusing his power as Maricopa County Sheriff but last week the former Sheriff lost another battle in the courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Arpaio’s request for a jury trial in his criminal contempt case. Arpaio unsuccessfully sought a jury trial thinking that a sympathetic jury may have declared him not-guilty.
Pardon Lacks Support, Says Survey
Latino Decisions, a tracking poll that surveys the Latino community about current issues, has released their September poll on the current administration. The numbers do not look good for Trump and Arpaio.
Only 8 percent of Latinos strongly approve of the job of the current administration, with 53 percent expressing strong disapproval. The total number expressing disapproval is 76 percent.
Additionally, 59 percent of Latinos surveyed said Trump is doing a worse job than expected.
Eighty-two percent of Latinos said they disagree with Trump’s pardon of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Of that number, 69 percent strongly disagree with the pardon.
Latino Decisions surveyed a random sample of 755 Latino adults from September 12 to 19, 2017.
What does the public think about the pardon?
Sixty percent of Americans oppose Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, according to a recent poll. Multiple political analysts – including conservative commentators – wrote op-ed articles opposing the pardon. Our latest post highlights the opinion of Andrew C. McCarthy, a conservative analyst with the National Review, on why the pardon is “Unmerited, Unnecessary, Impulsive.”
Most Americans also oppose Trump eliminating Deferred Action for Young Arrivals (DACA).
Could there be a legal challenge to Trump’s Pardon of Arpaio?
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled Joe Arpaio’s sentencing hearing for his criminal contempt of court conviction scheduled for October 5. She ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to file briefs listing the legal reasons she should vacate the criminal contempt conviction.
Additionally, a group called Protect Democracy wants to block the pardon by writing a letter to the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, arguing that the pardon violates legal processes and goes beyond constitutional limits.
Arpaio’s Tweets Remind Us of His Abuse
The Phoenix New Times posted a Twitter thread spotlighting some of the many abuses perpetrated by Sheriff Joe in his 24-year tenure. The posts went viral.
We've been covering Joe Arpaio for more than 20 years. Here's a couple of things you should know about him… 1/many
— PhoenixNewTimes (@phoenixnewtimes) August 26, 2017
Trump Pardoned Arpaio. Can the Pardon be Undone?
After weeks of teasing the media about possibly pardoning Joe Arpaio, Trump pardoned the criminally convicted, racist and disgraced ex-sheriff, causing an uproar in the community.
Is there any possibility of reversing the pardon?
According to the Department of Justice, longstanding regulations call for waiting at least five years after conviction before filing a pardon application. Arpaio was convicted less than four weeks ago. A Presidential pardon at this point is “intervening in the middle of a legal proceeding yet to run its course… [and has] every appearance of being direct interference in the administration of justice,” wrote Bob Bauer, a professor at New York University School of Law, in the Chicago Tribune.
What are the implications for non-citizens of Trump’s visit to Arizona and possible pardon of Arpaio?
Local attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta recently posted a warning to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen. He indicated that people who are not citizens should “stay away from any contact with law enforcement which can lead to an arrest during protests against Arpaio and Trump.” He stated that “my recent experience is that even if you have DACA or other temporary protection (TPS, etc.) if you get detained and taken to 4th Ave. Jail, it is very likely you will be processed through ICE.”
What is the landmark case that declared Arpaio a racial profiler?
The lawsuit Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al. was a class action lawsuit filed in 2007. Following a three-week trial, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was found to have engaged in racial profiling and unlawful traffic stops of Latinos.
As a result of the trial, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was ordered by the court to stop immigration enforcement, immigration raids, and traffic stops. U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued this decision, finding that Arpaio and his agency had relied on racial profiling and illegal detentions to target Latinos.
What is the latest information about the possible pardon by President Trump?
Arpaio was convicted after federal prosecutors proved his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office racially profiled and illegally detained Latinos, violating their constitutional rights. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces up to six months in jail. It’s possible Trump could wait till after the sentencing to pardon Arpaio, though many legal experts doubt the 85-year-old ex-sheriff will be sentenced to jail time.
Following Trump’s statement, Fox News contacted Arpaio, who responded, “I am happy he understands the case. I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.” However, Arpaio – a longtime outspoken supporter and friend of Trump – seems to be more concerned about the President’s reputation than Trump himself is: “I would never ask him for a pardon, especially if it causes heat,” Arpaio said. “I don’t want to do anything that would hurt the President.”
Department of Justice Asks Judge to Drop the Case Against Arpaio.
Following President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking Judge Bolton to have his conviction overturned.
This is an act of politicization by the DOJ that is not sitting well with many in Maricopa County.
Law experts and immigrant rights advocates filed a lawsuit challenging the pardon. You can read the legal document here.
Campaign to Unseat Arpaio Through Civil Participation Earns National Award
Bazta Arpaio, the grassroots coalition that helped kick Sheriff Joe out of office after 23 years, was selected to win the Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership at the 2017 National Council for La Raza (NCLR) Conference on July 10.
“This coalition kept the pressure on Sheriff Arpaio and demanded he either change his practices or get out of office,” announced Renata Soto, chair of the NCLR Board of Directors. “When Arpaio persisted with his fear-mongering tactics, Bazta Arpaio took to streets to protest, led walk-outs and rallies, engaged with the community via social media, and ran a hard-hitting get out the vote campaign in Maricopa County… They were determined to be the change they wanted to see in their community.”
Bazta Arpaio – a blend of basta, or “enough,” with the AZ of Arizona – combined the forces of numerous groups including the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, LUCHA, and Puente. The coalition of volunteers knocked on thousands of doors and made thousands of calls, mobilizing Latinos and new voters to head to the election polls.
The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund proudly supported the Bazta Arpaio campaign, as well as its composite organizations, including the Center for Neighborhood Leadership, and Puente.
“Michael Lacey and I are very honored to have been able to assist the Bazta Arpaio team,” said Jim Larkin, co-founder of the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. “We thank everyone for their efforts to bring this dark chapter of Arizona’s history to a close.”
During her acceptance speech, Viridiana Hernandez from Center for Neighborhood Leadership asked the audience to keep fighting against anti-immigrant: “We’re asking you to act, to join us in saying, Bazta Arpaio. Bazta Trump. Bazta the racism, the sexism. Bazta the homophobia. Bazta the hypocrisy. Bazta the collaboration with ICE. And Bazta separating our families.”
The Difficult Task to Uproot Arpaio’s Culture of Cruelty and Discrimination
After more than 23 years in power. Joe Arpaio was finally booted out of power by Maricopa County voters with help from community organizations with the BAZTA Arpaio campaign, which Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund sponsored.
However, although there is literally a new sheriff in town with Paul Penzone, the legacy of the former Sheriff lives on like a zombie from a bad horror movie.
Lawyers with the monitor team overseeing reform at Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said that racial bias problems that plagued the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office persist.
“This agency still has problems with racially biased traffic stops,” said Cecilia Wang, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has driven for years a class-action discrimination lawsuit. “There are still supervisors in the agency who are still very resistant to change.”
The efforts to implement change and court-ordered reforms into MCSO face an uphill battle, due to the presence of problematic agents who still follow the old patterns of discrimination so prevalent under Arpaio’s reign.
Lawyers with the ACLU along with input from citizens members of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) want to comb the data produced by MCSO to find out if some deputies are unwilling to embrace racially neutral policing, and if some of their supervisors are still overly protective of them.
New Sheriff Paul Penzone said he will not get rid of the problematic agents and is confident that training and supervision will allow the agency to overcome old practices of racial discrimination through profiling. He pointed out that no investigation has determined the problematic agents are guilty of any wrongdoing.
Activists remain skeptical and continue to gather periodically with MCSO monitor team to make sure old practices common with Arpaio are uprooted for good.
The Incident That Started Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
This unique fund to support organizations fighting for immigrant rights, human rights and freedom of expression in Arizona, was created by former media executives Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin out of the 3.75 million dollars settlement they won against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
On the evening of October 18, 2007, ten years ago, armed deputies from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s feared “Selective Enforcement Unit” handcuffed and arrested Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. They were forcibly removed from their Phoenix-area homes and shoved into unmarked SUVs with dark tinted windows and Mexican license plates. They were later booked into separate jails managed by Arpaio.
The arrests had been instigated and carried out by Arpaio as retaliation for the courageous Phoenix New Times stories that exposed his misdeeds. The newspaper managed by Lacey and Larkin reported on Arpaio’s role in fostering anti-Mexican fear-mongering and political posturing in Arizona. In fact, when mainstream newspapers routinely dismissed Arpaio as just another offbeat but benign Arizona character, Phoenix New Times reported on financial irregularities and rampant mismanagement in the sheriff’s office; on retaliatory abuses of power against the sheriff’s critics; on substandard health conditions in Arpaio’s jails; on mistreatment and deaths of jail inmates; on Arpaio’s systematic persecution, racial profiling and unconstitutional detention of Latinos.
Lacey and Larkin were ostensibly arrested for posting and publishing a cover story in Phoenix New Times that revealed how, in a breathtaking assault to the Constitution, Arpaio’s allies at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office had issued grand jury subpoenas seeking details about the newspaper’s writers, editors, and readers, including readers’ personal browsing histories and IP addresses.
After a loud national outcry, Lacey and Larkin were released from jail in less than 24 hours. All charges were dropped.
The illegal detention of Lacey and Larkin set off a prolonged court battle centered on First Amendment rights and abuse of power
The Ninth Circuit noted that the grand jury subpoenas served on Lacey and Larkin had actually been invalid because the prosecutor had sidestepped required legal procedures. The court made clear that Lacey and Larkin were arrested without probable cause.
Lacey and Larkin earmarked the settlement money for the Frontera Fund, a unique initiative intended largely to benefit the Hispanic community that has borne the brunt of the racial animus and civil rights abuses in Arizona.
Who is Joe Arpaio?
During his tenure as Maricopa County Sheriff, he was called “the toughest sheriff” in the U.S. He was an outspoken and ruthless opponent of undocumented immigration, using the MCSO and his power to enforce immigration law at the expense of public safety.
He also had a marked disdain for inmates’ rights housed in Maricopa County jails. His agency was accused of neglect in several prison deaths.
He was accused and a judge finds him responsible for of racial profiling against Latinos during the lawsuit Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al.
Arpaio openly disobeyed court orders to stop racial profiling and immigration enforcement. He was later accused of criminal contempt. He was declared guilty on July 31, 2017, following a bench trial by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. He was scheduled to be sentenced in October 2017 but got pardoned by Trump. Please read below about Arpaio Pardon by Trump.
He was voted out of office on November 8, 2016.