Nel's New Day

December 6, 2011

Arpaio ‘Apologizes’ for Not Investigating Child Molestations

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 6:01 PM
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Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio has apologized to victims (“if there are any,” he added) for his office’s botched investigations of hundreds of sex-crimes cases between 2005 and 2007. Sorry Sheriff Joe–it’s a matter of “too little, too late.” According to Arpaio’s office, they have reopened 432 sex-crimes investigations from El Mirage and other parts of  Maricopa County because alleged child molestations and rapes weren’t adequately investigated—or sometimes not worked at all—during that time period even when the suspects were known.

Arpaio is self-identified as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and a conservative hero that has hosted Republican presidential candidates.

Nobody in the sheriff’s office is explaining why these cases were not investigated except to say, “There are policy violations that have occurred here.” There were no follow-up reports, no collection of additional forensic evidence, and no efforts after the initial report of the crime was taken–a lot of “policy violations.”

Now it’s too late. A police official in El Mirage, a town contracting Arpaio’s department’s services for $2.7 million during the three-year period in question, said that many of the affected parties have left town and much of the evidence has gone cold or was never even collected.

Bill Louis, then-assistant El Mirage police chief who reviewed the files after the sheriff’s contract ended, believes the decision to ignore the cases was made deliberately by supervisors in Arpaio’s office—and not by individual investigators. He thinks that the decision-maker knows that illegal immigrants, often transient and afraid of the police, are unlikely to complain about the quality of investigations. According to Louis, some cases involved families who live in Arizona legally.

A few officers during that time were employed by El Mirage, but Arpaio brought in patrol officers and detectives and managers who ran the department. The Associated Press found they followed a pattern of sex-crimes not investigated after the crimes were reported to Arpaio’s office after AP obtained police records through public records requests.

Here are some of the important things that Arpaio was doing from 2005 through 2007:

Investing taxpayer dollars in brand-new fluorescent pink handcuffs for jail inmates to promote his book, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America’s Toughest Sheriff;

Jailing two executives from a weekly news publication that printed Arpaio’s home address which can be found on a variety of public information websites;

Sending out civilian posses from its 300-volunteer force to find illegal immigrants;

Pushing for random drug testing in schools;

In April 2005, “raid[ing] a Mesa towing company operated by men who supported a political rival in the 2004 election. Two hundred boxes of documents seized”;

Making inmates learn patriotic songs in the Americanese language;

Running for reelection.

Those familiar with Arpaio know him for his tank that he uses to issue warrants (sometimes knocking down fences and walls) and two federal investigations, underway since 2008, showing that he misspent nearly $100 million in taxpayer dollars as well as engaging in racial profiling practices, abusing his powers, and violating civil rights.

Earlier he became famous for his “Tent City,” an extension of the Maricopa County Jail, where the vast majority of inmates are awaiting trial because they have not been convicted. In 1997, Amnesty International found that Tent Cityis not an “adequate or humane alternative to housing inmates in suitable … jail facilities.” Last July the temperature inside the tents hit 145 degrees.

The jail also serves only two meals a day and has chain gangs not only for men but also for women and juveniles. The pink underwear that inmates are forced to wear are also used for fundraisers: Arpaio sells pink boxers with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s logo and “Go Joe,” supposedly for the Sherriff’s Posse Association but with no accounting for the money that he receives.

Fans of Arpaio include neo-Nazis, some Republican presidential candidates including Rick Perry (who Arpaio endorsed), and those in Maricopa County who have voted him in for the past 20 years. These are the same people who supported the recentArizonalaw requiring racial profiling.

Arpaio’s world provides an excellent image of the country in which we would live if conservatives take total control of the United States.

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