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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Sheriff Joe has finally gone too far

Ferguson, Mo., brought national attention to the issue of racial bias in policing. That attention may finally be turning onto Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For over 20 years, Arpaio has been in power through six elections because of Arizona voters. He’s fooled voters into seeing a strong man of the law when he is nothing more than a racist child in an old man’s body.

Investigation into Arpaio’s policing methods opened in March 2009 when the U.S. Justice Department investigated Maricopa County, according to CNN. The federal investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office was taking part in unlawful policing and jailing practices against Latino drivers.

For 18 months, Arpaio refused to hand over necessary evidence, which eventually resulted in the federal government suing the county. This unnecessary action only delayed the inevitable outcome that Arpaio, for some reason, believed he could avoid.

In 2011, Judge G. Murray Snow ordered Arpaio to cease traffic stops and patrols that required drivers to present legalization papers. In May 2013, Snow declared Maricopa County’s police methods racial and ethnic profiling, not legal immigration handling.

During the April 21-24 hearing, Arpaio was heard in court for contempt in regards to Snow’s orders that Arpaio disregarded.

When confronted under oath, Arpaio claimed he didn’t understand the law.

Either Arpaio has been caught in his own web of lies or has just told us he needs to retire.

Besides being unable to properly comprehend demands given to him, Arpaio was discovered investigating Snow’s wife.

This is not the first time Arpaio has terrorized and threatened people to get his way.

Arpaio has his own agenda, and every time voters put this abuser into power, his ego swells like a Chia Pet.

According to AZCentral, back in 2004, Arpaio resurfaced a sheriff candidate’s 30-year-old rape allegation, in which his adoptive stepmother was declared guilty of raping him when he was 17. Arpaio used his power just to cast voter doubt. The stunt cost over $800,000.

In 2007, Phoenix New Times founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested in the middle of the night after publishing a critical piece on Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a political ally of Arpaio. Charges were dropped shortly after the arrests but not before the grand jury requested IP addresses, cookies and browser history for all visitors to the publication’s website since 2004. The intimidation act cost $3.75 million.

From 2008 to 2009, Arpaio launched a massive corruption investigation into former and present county employees. Although all charges were dropped in 2010, Arizonans lost $7.5 million on the crusade.

There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the federal government’s ideals and wanting to change them. However, ignoring the law isn’t the way to go about it.

This goes for Arizona voters: Electing a man that disregards the laws he’s sworn to protect isn’t justice; it’s aggression.

Protesting and lobbying are ways to tell the government that the people want change. Voters should focus on electing legislators and representatives to help change laws, not electing a sheriff who doesn’t seem to understand that his job is to enforce those laws.


Ashleigh Horowitz is a creative writing freshman. Follow her on Twitter.

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