Jim Kouri
AG Holder looks to nail "America's Sheriff" Joe Arpaio
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By Jim Kouri
January 13, 2010

A federal grand jury in Arizona began hearing a federal prosecutors' allegations that the popular Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio abused his authority. Sheriff Arpaio garnered national attention with his tough immigration enforcement and to many Americans is known as "America's Sheriff."

The President Barack Obama's Department of Justice is investigating Sheriff Arpaio for abuse of power and his questionable conduct aimed at local officials who routinely oppose his no-nonsense brand of policing and jail managing.

Almost immediately after taking his oath of office, President Obama and members of his national security team such as Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have targeted Arpaio, who is vilified by advocates of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens.

In 2009, Secretary Napolitano stripped Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff's Department of its federal authority to arrest suspected illegal immigrants based solely on their immigration status. The federal authorities under President Barack Obama wish to do away with local cops enforcing our nation's immigration laws.

Arpaio's deputies attended the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Training Center, in Glynco, Georgia, for training in immigration enforcement as part of their regular law enforcement and jail management duties. In addition to the DHS attempting to curtail Sheriff Arpaio's immigration enforcement activities — he states he will not stop arresting illegal aliens — Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, threatened to investigate Sheriff Arpaio and his department.

Maricopa County Manager David Smith and Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury. They say the sheriff goes after anyone who disagrees with him, and his tactics are over the top — like raiding offices and even sending deputies to their homes at night and during weekends.

Sheriff Arpaio he won't comment on the grand jury, only that he will continue to do his job.

Arpaio has long clashed with county authorities who accuse him and his department of using "harsh anti-immigration tactics, making a national name for himself as he pushed the bounds of local immigration enforcement."

Maricopa County Manager David Smith and Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson say they met with a federal prosecutor to discuss the case and will testify today before a grand jury investigating Arpaio and his deputies..

Last month, Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County prosecuting attorney Andrew Thomas filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against a group of county administrators, judges and attorneys, accusing them of participating in a conspiracy to hinder an investigation into the court building and of county Supervisor Don Stapley.

Arpaio is popular for his tough jail policies. He routinely makes inmates wear pink underwear and take part in old-style chain gangs in striped uniforms and serving them green bologna sandwiches.

His crime and immigration sweeps — some in heavily Hispanic areas of metropolitan Phoenix — have drawn criticism that his deputies were racially profiling people. Arpaio says people pulled over in the sweeps were approached because deputies had probable cause to believe they had committed crimes.

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Arpaio's office over allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures — a probe that the sheriff and his millions of supporters believe is a result of his immigration efforts.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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