Border War: Is the Left about to Destroy Brave Sheriff Arpaio?
The left has attacked Arizona's famous sheriff from every angle until it has become difficult for him to fight back any longer.
The left have been trying to destroy America’s popular Sheriff Joe Arpaio for years and are finally circling like sharks.
I would know. Those sharks took a bite out of me, and all I did was work for the guy.
The thought that Arpaio may be going under has the left positively giddy. A local progressive writer for The Arizona Republic gleefully titled a recent column, “Would Sheriff Arpaio Look Pretty in Pink (Underwear)?”
Long known for his no-frills jails (pink underwear so gang members wouldn’t steal them), chain gangs and inexpensive meals (green bologna and water), Arpaio finally really infuriated the left when he started cracking down on illegal immigration in 2005. Arizona’s illegal immigration levels had reached epidemic levels, straining tax dollars. Working with conservative Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, the pair made a significant dent in the state’s illegal immigration. They lobbied to get four ballot initiatives against illegal immigration made law in 2006. When left-leaning judges refused to enforce the new laws, the two fought back.
A flurry of investigations and legal actions began shortly afterwards. This is where the tide started turning against Arpaio, because the left controls much of the judiciary. It started by snatching the low-hanging fruit around Arpaio, junior employees who had no money, power or connections to defend themselves. The judges made findings against Arpaio, and the complicit state bar disbarred Thomas and another prosecutor. The state bar also came after me, at the time a low-level attorney for Arpaio — an ordeal Michelle Malkin detailed in 2012.
The Obama Justice Department began an investigation into Arpaio’s agency in 2008, nitpicking every policy and procedure in order to cast blame. Defense attorney Harvey Silverglate finds these sort of fishing expeditions such a problem he wrote a book entitled Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. In 2011, the DOJ declared that it had found racial discrimination against Hispanics by Arpaio’s law enforcement agency. This was peculiar since 23 percent of the employees are Hispanic.
Nevertheless, the Department of Homeland Security revoked Arpaio’s authority to identify and detain illegal immigrants in 2011. In March 2012, Arpaio announced that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery, and — surprise, surprise — two months later, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against him for racial profiling, U.S. v. Maricopa County.
In 2010, Pima County Superior Court judge John Leonardo ruled that Arpaio had “misused the power of his office to target” elected county officials who Arpaio believed were complicit with the judges. In what many think is no coincidence, shortly afterwards Leonardo received a plum appointment, becoming U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, one of the largest U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the country.
By the way, a former high-level attorney there told me recently that the office regularly receives orders from the Obama administration to target its enemies, which employees are forced to carry out. In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the selective prosecution of Dinesh D’Souza, the DOJ witch hunt against Fox News’ James Rosen, and countless other examples, should we be surprised?
In 2007, a Mexican tourist filed a lawsuit against Arpaio, alleging racial profiling, Melendres v. Arpaio. The plaintiff found powerful allies with deep pockets to assist him, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. But illegal immigrants are less familiar with our laws and usually have limited financial resources, they’re obviously more likely to commit traffic violations or to have a taillight out, so it’s hardly surprising that a larger proportion of them are pulled over.
A police officer for another law enforcement agency in Arizona told me recently that his agency is so terrified of what is happening to Arpaio that all officers have been ordered not to arrest illegal immigrants unless they have a warrant out for their arrest involving a serious felony. They also have completely stopped looking for telltale signs by drivers. Instead, they run every single license plate they see around them. They’ve opted for random search methods over career-endangering efficiency.
U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow has repeatedly ruled against Arpaio in the Melendres case. In 2013, he held that Arpaio’s office had discriminated against Hispanics by targeting them in traffic stops. Arpaio believes there is something fishy about Snow’s rulings against him, and at one point started investigating his ties to the DOJ.
In what many believe was retaliation, county officials conducted an investigation of Arpaio’s office in 2011, aided by The Arizona Republic’s public records requests. They concluded that he had misspent funds. Several of Arpaio’s underlings were targeted in the investigation, leaving Arpaio no option but to fire his longtime Chief Deputy and Deputy Chief.
With the tide turning against Arpaio, it has been easy for the DOJ and judiciary to dismantle Arizona’s SB1070, the comprehensive bill against illegal immigration that passed in 2010 with Arpaio’s support. By 2012, most of the law had been gutted by judges.
Under attack from so many angles, with his former top circle of advisers and attorneys all taken out, Arpaio finally seems to be losing his ability to fight back. He has agreed to apologize for racial profiling, donate to a Hispanic civil rights group and admit that he committed civil contempt of court for not complying with a racial profiling order in the Melendres case. That still isn’t enough for Judge Snow, who indicated this month that he wants Arpaio to pay personally out of his own pocket.
While Arizona is a red state, and most of its elected officials are Republicans, the judiciary, state bar and mainstream media are all controlled by the left, and even some elected Republicans are afraid to stand up to them. Anyone who aligns himself or herself with Arpaio becomes a target – until Arpaio is finally taken out. Arpaio is a media celebrity, but at 82 years old, he has not kept up with the vicious opposition on the Internet.
This should serve as a warning to anyone on the right who thinks popular conservatives can withstand attacks from the left simply because they’re popular. Sheriff Arpaio has been the most popular sheriff in the country for years. If the Alinskyites can take him down, they can take down anyone. Anyone who values the rule of law and a representative democracy over tyranny should be alarmed.
At the same time, there’s reason for hope. It requires taking on a lot of bullies within an entrenched system, but truth and justice have a way of winning when thousands of little platoons awake from slumber and rally to support the freedom fighters on the front lines. There are a couple of ways to help in this case. First, Sheriff Arpaio has set up a legal defense fund. His opponents are passionate enough in their attack on the rule of law to lavishly fund their cause against him. The question is whether we are equally passionate. Second, sunlight is the best disinfectant and and excellent way to stop these sick attacks. So spread the word about what is happening to Sheriff Arpaio if you value a free republic and ever hope to have another brave sheriff like him.