Phoenix Mayor Asks for Investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Immigration Crackdowns

Earlier I wrote about Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest shaming punishment for women inmates. Now I see the Sheriff has much bigger problems. The Mayor of Phoenix is asking the FBI to investigate his crackdowns on the undocumented.

In an April 4 letter to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, Mayor Phil Gordon asked the agency and the Justice Department’s civil rights division to examine what he called discriminatory harassment and improper stops, searches and arrests by sheriff’s deputies in Maricopa County, which encompasses the metropolitan area.

“Over the past few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio’s actions have infringed on the civil rights of our residents,” Mr. Gordon wrote. “They have put our residents’ well-being, and the well-being of law enforcement officers, at risk.”

Arpaio zings back: [More...]

“I think the mayor is disconnected from the people he represents, and he doesn’t get the point,” Sheriff Arpaio said Saturday. “Now he’s going to Washington to confuse the issue and try to get the public against me.”

Mr. Gordon “is degrading my office and my deputies by insinuating that they’re violating all these civil laws,” the sheriff said. “We don’t profile.”

At issue are Arpaio's "saturation patrols."

In the past month, sheriff’s deputies and trained volunteers have gone into neighborhoods with large Hispanic populations, stopping people for routine traffic violations and asking some of them about their immigration status. Dozens of illegal immigrants have been detained.

ICE seems to think Arpaio is not breaking the law. Others disagree.

Last week, the Arizona Ecumenical Council and American Jewish Committee issued a joint letter saying the patrols “evoked a ‘police state’ atmosphere” and led to “detainment on the basis of a racial profile and dehumanization of innocent people.”

They were joined Friday by the Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, which echoed calls for a Justice Department investigation.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Sounds Like (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 02:08:07 AM EST
    Guliani Time, but against immigrants. Guliani would send out cops to poor black and hispanic neighborhoods in the outer boroughs to bust as many people as possible for minor infractions. His goal was to inflate his arrest records to show he was tough on crime.

    Man (none / 0) (#2)
    by phillhrrll on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 02:30:56 AM EST
    do we need a justice system, one based on our rights enumerated in our constitution.

    Round up brown people to (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:07:07 AM EST
    work cleaning the stables for his daughters.

    Ugh that man is unbearable. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:08:51 AM EST

    'bout Time! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Doc Rock on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:12:48 AM EST
    Arpaio is self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner. Put him in his tent city for a few years!

    Worst sheriff I have ever seen (none / 0) (#7)
    by Saul on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:49:22 AM EST
    He brags that he so tough on criminals.  He goes out of his way to humilate the prisioners.   I feel sorry for this guy when he leaves office.  He will always have to look over his back to see if some inmate who has done his time is not out for revenge.

    civil rights? (none / 0) (#8)
    by DandyTIger on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:13:34 AM EST
    what are those. Oh yea, that's what we had 7 years ago. I remember those. You know, that was a good idea. We should have those again. Snark.

    Sheriff Arpaio was first elected in 1992 and is (none / 0) (#9)
    by JSN on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:59:34 AM EST
    running for reelection this year. He does have opposition and they are asking for donations. Sheriff Arpaio has been reelected three times with large margins so I have no idea if his opponent has a chance. Evidently "Tough on Crime" is alive and well in Arizona.

    It is possible that congress will pass a bill that would provide funds for immigration enforcement by local police and I would expect that in the more populous counties that could cause serious controversies that could determine the outcome of a city or county election. At the present time the federal government will pay (under restricted conditions) part of the cost of jail incarceration for foreign nationals. In return they get a list of the birthplaces of all persons incarcerated together with information about the most serious charge. So there already is a cooperative program in place for collecting information about illegal immigrants. At the present time the information is not timely but that could change.

    I worked in law enforcement in one of (none / 0) (#10)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:42:42 AM EST
    the cities near Phoenix, but in Maricopa County. Arpaio didn't have the respect of law enforcement outside of his sheriff's office and his 'posse.' That's right, his posse, volunteers who support him, wear the uniform. Many had POST training, and arrest authority. These are the folks he used for his roudups of prostitutes, and I suspect for his roundup of migrants.

    I hope he gets defeated, but I fear he will not. I also hope the FBI can curb his actions, but I think he'd just use it as an 'us against them' to increase support for his policies.

    On the other hand (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 11:19:51 AM EST
    it appears that many of you are against him enforcing the law.

    On the one hand (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 01:20:45 PM EST
    it should not surprise us that LE officers focus on patrolling our highways because that's where a lot of illegal speeders are, the same as they focus on patrolling Hispanic neighborhoods because that's where a lot of the immigrants who are in our country illegally are, but on the other hand Sheriff Arpaio may be bringing enough "bad" press to Phoenix that Phoenix Mayor Gordon is doing what he can to stop Arpaio's career.

    Regardless, LE's duty is to enforce and abide by the law.

    On the third hand (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 07:30:04 PM EST
    Does anyone have any proof that they haven't been abiding by the law?

    Wow (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 11:36:33 PM EST
    Never thought I would hear you sound reasonable when it came to immigrants. Kudos.

    No idea. Not my point. (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 12:29:07 PM EST
    It Speaks To Your Point (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 12:52:29 PM EST
    Quite succinctly, imo.

    Hmm. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 01:00:43 PM EST
    We may not be communicating. I read Jim's comment as:
    Does anyone have any proof that they [the law enforcement officers] haven't been abiding by the law?
    Is that how you read it? If yes, I don't get your point.

    No (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 04:22:13 PM EST
    I read it incorrectly as the fact that there is no reason to expect immigrants are breaking the law. But you are right, ppj would never say anything like that, he hates them.

    Sheriff Joe pulls everyone over who is not legal (none / 0) (#19)
    by katmandu on Thu Jul 03, 2008 at 07:07:42 AM EST
    as I have experienced.  I've had to replace a
    front light and my windshield this past year.
    Of course, I could bearly see through the major
    crack, and it was hard to drive with a missing
    front light.  If you don't want the Sheriff's
    dept pulling you over, drive a street legal car
    in a proper manner.
    You're in trouble if you don't have a valid
    drivers license and insurance.  Both mandatory
    in Arizona.
    Gordon is major of the 12th largest city in the
    US, which ranks 5th in violent crime.
    Personally, I'm scared to drive in Phoenix after
    Gordon just wants to cover up the fact he is a
    lousy major facing recall this fall.