Posted by: nieophyte | February 19, 2009

Recently I’ve been pretty appalled by the stories I’ve read about this really rotten sheriff in my family’s hometown of maricopa county, Arizona named Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Here’s what Sojourners published on their blog just a few days ago:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, presides over Arizona’s Maricopa County (the 4th largest in the country) and proclaims himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” Sheriff Joe’s most recent publicity stunt involved parading 200 immigrant detainees to a new Tent City outdoor detention center. Shackled to each other and dressed in old-fashioned prison stripes, armed deputies marched the detainees past news cameras summoned for the event.

Last April, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon requested that then U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey launch a Justice Department investigation into “discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches, and arrests” of Latinos by Sheriff Arpaio. Mayor Gordon also stated that these tactics are putting Phoenix “residents’ well-being, and the well-being of law enforcement officers, at risk.” Last week, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee John Conyers and other prominent members of Congress called for a federal investigation as well.

According to The Arizona Republic, Sheriff Arpaio’s other made-for-TV stunts include immigration sweeps cheered on by gun-toting motorcycle and anti-immigrant “Minuteman” groups that target anyone “guilty of looking Latino.” Sherriff Arpaio has even made the outrageous statement: “I wish that the Phoenix Police Department would arrest everybody, even if they’re not sure [of that person’s legal status].”

If that doesn’t make you angry, then read the wikipedia entry on him and you’ll get some pretty sad stories. In any case, Sojourners is asking people to send a letter to the department of justice requesting an investigation into the Arpaio’s practices. It’s pretty easy, all you have to do is fill out your name and address and you can ignore all the donation stuff at the end: http://go.sojo.net/campaign/arpaio

Of course, dissenting opinions may exist among some of you, and I welcome any other information or opinions you might have. Always good to know both sides of the story, right? But if you feel compelled to send a letter, I’d be so grateful!

love,

nieophyte

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