Friday, February 15, 2013

Troubling News (Again) Out of Arizona

Arpaio speaking at a Tea Party rally
The Corporate Justice Blog has tackled the prison industrial complex in the past and new news out of Arizona seems to indicate more troubling policies for those interested in sane and safe prison and police policies in the United States.  Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now sending volunteer law enforcement "posse's" out into communities his agency is sworn to protect in order to patrol near elementary, middle and high schools, none of which requested these additional patrols.  Perhaps most troubling in this new posse policy, is that these volunteer members are neither paid nor trained well before being deployed, some with guns on hip, to administer Arpaio's often unconstitutional policies.

Salon's Chris Feliciano Arnold describes this new mess in great detail in "Sheriff Joe's Posse Invades Guadalupe: The Controversial Sheriff Puts His 'Good Guys' With Guns Around Arizona Schools - They Might Be The Real Threat."  Sheriff Arpaio is currently being sued by the Department of Justice for alleged civil rights violations and other routine unconstitutional activity.

[photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons]


  1. "It did not take long for reports to resurface that his good guys with guns might have questionable pasts or bad judgment – a Phoenix TV station reported that Arpaio has a history of welcoming sex offenders and domestic abusers into his posse."

    Welcoming sex offenders and domestic abusers? Really? From the linked article:

    "The MCSO Public Information Office is quick to point out that among the lineup of sketchy possemen named in the local CBS affiliate’s investigation, none were adjudicated – found guilty or charged – with the crimes in question ...“If a posseman commits a crime, he’s going to get punished accordingly,” says Sgt. Brandon Jones. “... if it happens again he’s going to get released from the posse ...”

    "In red states and red towns across America, this is the response to Sandy Hook. And if the NRA gets its way, the number of armed volunteers in schools will only increase. But if the “good guys with guns” can’t be trusted ... blah, blah, blah"

    Can't be trusted? Again, from the same article:

    "We were greeted by Deputy Tom Hughes, a quick-witted, flat-topped military vet who supervises recruitment and background checks for the posse program ... These possemen may not be sworn deputies, but the most committed among them have been through hours of training ... some are former law enforcement"

    "Tempe School District, which oversees Frank Elementary, is confident that the intent of the new posse patrols is to keep kids safe, nothing more."

    So, they conduct background checks and provide training and if anyone commits a crime they are forced out. And, the school district in question is confident that their intent is to keep kids safe.

    This "reporter" contradicts her own arguments throughout the entire article. It seems that the only person who can't really be trusted is her.

  2. "Perhaps most troubling in this new posse policy, is that these volunteer members are neither paid nor trained well before being deployed, some with guns on hip, to administer Arpaio's often unconstitutional policies."

    From your source:

    "Sheriff Joe’s Posse was raised in 1993, his first year in office ... Fulfilling one of his campaign promises, Sheriff Joe leveraged his constitutional right to deputize a new generation of possemen to patrol malls during peak shopping season ... two decades later those 3,500 men and women serve in more than 50 specialized posses ..."

    It seems that he does have the constitutional right to form these posses, and it has been more than two decades without any real problems with regard to the posses performance of their duties. Further more, the recruits receive extensive training and are broken down into subgroups that focus on areas where they may have a prticular expertise or interest.

  3. As for your claim that Arpaio has beens abusive of civil rights:

    "When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures." But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio's office -- and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio's lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act.

    The report, crammed with acronyms and bureaucratese, is not light reading. But struggle through it, and the key sentence is this: "The OI and DRO supervisors consider the conduct and performance of the MCSO ... officers to be professional and meeting the requirement of the MOA." Translated, that means officials from the Homeland Security Department's Office of Investigation (OI), along with officials from the Detention and Removal Operations office (DRO), concluded that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), in its handling of illegal immigrants, acted in a professional manner and complied with a memorandum of agreement (MOA) under which the government gave them the authority to enforce federal law. That agreement included a ban on racial profiling.

    ICE investigators also interviewed top federal officials involved in illegal immigrant cases in Arizona. They found an "excellent" working relationship between the sheriff's office and the feds. ICE talked as well to federal prosecutors in Phoenix, who described the cases brought by Maricopa County as "high quality." -- Washington Examiner

    "... the Washington Times points out that Arpaio is being sued by the Civil Rights Division’s allies in the ACLU (the number-two lawyer at the division is a former ACLU lawyer) for setting up an anonymous telephone tip line for immigration violations, purportedly because it will generate “false, inaccurate and racially motivated reports.” Interestingly, the division has set up its own anonymous tip line to solicit complaints from illegal immigrants about Arpaio. It’s a good thing that this tip line will not generate any “false, inaccurate and racially motivated” calls.

    This is a real sign of the desperation by the Civil Rights Division. They have been harassing Arpaio for the past year and even generated a DHS audit of him (despite having had no complaints that he was not complying with the rules of the 287(g) program), trying to scrape up enough evidence to justify a civil-rights lawsuit against him. That effort appears to have come up short — necessitating an anonymous tip line nine months after the witch-hunt was initiated. As the Washington Times correctly points out, it seems pretty clear that this is intended to “find a crime to pin” on Arpaio." -- National Review

    “Prove it! If Eric Holder has evidence that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has engaged in systematic violations of the civil rights of Hispanic, then show me the evidence. If the Justice Department wants to take me to court, I’m ready” -- Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff, Arizona

    The left whines incessantly about McCarthyite politically motivated witch hunts, unless, of course, the target is someone they disagree with.