Let me introduce you to celebrity sheriff and media personality Joe Arpaio (pdf):
From at least 2006 and continuing through the present, MCSO officers have unlawfully discriminated against Latinos and otherwise violated their constitutional rights through a broad range of police practices, including the following: Unconstitutional and unlawful targeting of Latinos, because of their race, color, or national origin, for pretextual traffic stops during routine enforcement activity, in connection with purported immigration and human smuggling law enforcement activities, and during purported crime suppression operations (suppression sweeps) Unconstitutional and unlawful detention of Latino drivers and passengers, because of their race, color, or national origin, to determine immigration status, when there is no lawful basis for the detention…
The Defendants’ violations of the Constitution and laws of the United States are the product of a culture of disregard in MCSO for Latinos that starts at the top and pervades the organization. MCSO jail employees frequently refer to Latinos as “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” and “stupid Mexicans.” MCSO supervisors involved in immigration enforcement have expressed anti-Latino bias, in one instance widely distributing an email that included a photograph of a Chihuahua dog dressed in swimming gear with the caption “A Rare Photo of a Mexican Navy Seal.” MCSO and Arpaio’s words and actions set the tone and create a culture of bias that contributes to unlawful actions.
In another instance, MCSO officers stopped a car carrying four Latino men, although the car was not violating any traffic laws. The MCSO officers ordered the men out of the car, zip-tied them, and made them sit on the curb for an hour before releasing all of them. The only reason given for the stop was that the men’s car “was a little low,” which is not a criminal or traffic violation….
For example, an MCSO officer stopped a Latina woman – a citizen of the United States and five months pregnant at the time – as she pulled into her driveway. After she exited her car, the officer then insisted that she sit on the hood of the car. When she refused, the officer grabbed her arms, pulled them behind her back, and slammed her, stomach first, into the vehicle three times. He then dragged her to the patrol car and shoved her into the backseat. He left her in the patrol car for approximately 30 minutes without air conditioning. The MCSO officer ultimately issued a citation for failure to provide identification. This citation was later changed to failure to provide proof of insurance. The citation was resolved when the woman provided her proof of insurance to the local court…
In another instance, during a crime suppression operation, two MCSO officers followed a Latina woman, a citizen of the United States, for a quarter of a mile to her home. The officers did not turn on their emergency lights, but insisted that the woman remain in her car when she attempted to exit the car and enter her home. The officers’ stated reasons for approaching the woman was a non-functioning license plate light. When the woman attempted to enter her home, the officers used force to take her to the ground, kneed her in the back, and handcuffed her. The woman was then taken to an MCSO substation, cited for “disorderly conduct,” and returned home. The disorderly conduct citation was subsequently dismissed….
For example, during a raid of a house suspected of containing human smugglers and their victims, HSU officers went to an adjacent house, which was occupied by a Latino family. The officers entered the adjacent house and searched it, without a warrant and without the residents’ knowing consent. Although they found no evidence of criminal activity, after the search was over, the officers zip-tied the residents, a Latino man, a legal permanent resident of the United States, and his 12-year-old Latino son, a citizen of the United States, and required them to sit on the
sidewalk for more than one hour, along with approximately 10 persons who had been seized from the target house, before being released.In another raid, a U.S.-born Latina was taken into custody for four hours to determine whether she was lawfully in the United States.
In a nationally televised interview in 2009, Arpaio stated: “They hate me, the Hispanic community, because they’re afraid they’re going to be arrested. And they’re all leaving town, so I think we’re doing something good, if they’re leaving.”
This wasn’t a mystery. There’s nothing in these allegations that we haven’t read in news accounts. It’s been going on for years, and it’s extensively documented and available. Hell, Arpaio brags about this stuff on national television, and that’s the part that is absolutely amazing to me. Apparently his statements and (alleged) behavior are now completely acceptable to Republican leaders and all of the many media companies who have promoted and celebrated the “controversial” sheriff since 2006, and this isn’t the half of it. There’s also the massive corruption and arrest and prosecution of his political opponents, which has also been going on for years. The sheriff brutally targets one specific group of people for arrest, detention, abuse and humiliation, and he’s not a political liability to Republicans, he’s a national conservative celebrity who appears at Tea Party rallies with former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
What are Republicans and media thinking, lending this person credibility and giving him a propaganda and grifter-career platform? Do they have any standards at all?