In response to a post of mine requesting that folks sign a petition asking trump not to sign a pardon for Joe Arpaio, a friend said that Arpaio is, “…a great American hero.” I admit that I was startled because I have been loosely following the Arpaio case for years and thought his conduct had become reprehensible. But in fact, at first I thought Arpaio’s boot camp approach to prison might have some merit but soon changed my mind as I watched the actual practice. However, I think a great deal of my friend of almost 50 years and so I thought it prudent to do some research…
I started my research with Arizona papers and found articles describing settlements paid by the county for Arpaio’s misconduct. I was led to the wikipedia.org article, and, quite frankly the listing of his deeds there is…well, staggering. People lived in fear and not just brown people, but people who opposed him on any level. He had power, firearms, and a badge. There are other sources of information but they might be labeled “liberal press” or alt-facts. That is why I used wikipedia as a list of places to start, sort of a list that I could then google an issue and get multiple sources and viewpoints. Summarizing his conduct throughout the years would take a lot of space and I refer you to wikipedia to get more details but essentially he would dismiss cases without any investigation, including sex crimes against children. He and the county attorney decided that local officials who were opposed to Arpaio’s methods were corrupt and should be prosecuted (sound like McCarthyism?). They brought cases to a grand jury who ordered him to stop the investigation, something rarely done. The county attorney was disbarred by the state for taking part in what was shown to be a personal vendetta by the sheriff against county and city officials. Two reporters were arrested by Arpaio after they wrote an article critical of him. No charges were filed. They were released after some terrifying hours of secret movement and incarceration.
The Maricopa County Office of Management and Budget found that Arpaio had improperly spent more than $100,000,000. With no accountability!
The county attorney (same one as in the last paragraph) had been elected on a “control the immigration” platform and enlisted Arpaio to help him. Arpaio then began stopping all cars that had brown people in them and demanded they prove their citizenship. He was eventually sued and lost. He appealed and lost. He was enraged at the judge and had his office begin to “construct” a conspiracy case showing the judge and others had criminally conspired against him. This was also discredited. And yet, Arpaio continued to use racial profiling as a law enforcement practice. He was warned by the judge. He continued. He was warned again and admitted that he was doing it anyway. He was convicted of contempt of court in July 2017, to be sentenced this October, and now trump is considering giving him a pardon.
In summary, Arpaio has been called out for his un-American activities by the US Department of Justice, the US District Courts, Amnesty International, ACLU, The Arizona Ecumenical Council, the American Jewish Committee, and the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, his local elected leaders, his local appointed leaders, and much of his community. (from wikipedia) His abuse of power and his absolute disregard for any input except his own are scary.
So, no my friend, NO…Arpaio is no American hero. He represents the kind of law enforcement entity we left England to get away from some 250+ years ago.
The pictures below are from Fort Ward in Alexandria, VA. Fort Ward was built as a Bastion Fort to protect Washington, DC, during the civil war. The civil war was fought to keep slavery or get rid of it…suggestions otherwise ignore history. As for the statues, they are bookmarks to a time most of us, not all, don’t want to return to…ever. Nazi terror was a significant part of German history, Germans are completely aware of the significance of those years in their history. But there are no statues of Hitler, or Goering, or Himmler. These statues don’t represent American heroes either.