Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Showdown at the Civil Right Corral - Page 2
If the claims are upheld, Judge Murray Snow can award the DOJ management oversight of the department or appoint a Receiver to institute reforms. The filing largely leaves it to the judge to prescribe specific remedies. Still, this lawsuit has real teeth.
Arpaio has been a self-promoting lightening rod in Arizona politics since coming to office in the early 1990s. Crazy Joe calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and prides himself on terrorizing Phoenix area Hispanics and jail prisoners. The latter he makes wear pink underwear, which makes him popular with the kind of redneck who favors prison as a form of torture. But it’s mostly all for show. Like almost all other men, the fellows in the Maricopa County Jail don’t really spend much time thinking about the color of their chonies.
To me, Arpaio seems like a guy of only modest intelligence (George Zimmerman again comes to mind) who defaults to being a professional “prick” because the language requirements for that job are small. He understands the work. “America’s Biggest Ass,” is probably a better description, more of a blowhard like Bull Connor than an intelligent bigot like, say, George Wallace.
But modest intellect notwithstanding, Arpaio has still been able to do a lot of damage, both to Arizona’s Mexican descendants and to Arizona politics. In fact, some believe that Arizona’s SB1070 was a direct payoff to Arpaio, brokered by deposed state-senator Russell Pearce a former Arpaio deputy. If the suspicion is true, SB1070 was brought to Brewer as a way to give Arpaio cover from lawsuits. In exchange (the theory goes) he agreed not to challenge her in her primary race.
So now America gets its day in court in the Joe Arpaio matter. It’s been a long time coming. And for Arizona’s many citizens who aren’t racists, justice can’t come soon enough.
Photo by Gage Skidmore