Sheriff Joe Arpaio Corrupt Thug and Bully
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be nationally famous as a “tough on crime” peace officer, but he’s a thug of the highest order, the editors of The Arizona Republic charge in a blistering broadside, and the governor and attorney general are cowards for letting him get away with it:
Anyone who still believes Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas are not abusing their police powers to intimidate and harass their political enemies must consider the brazen attempt on Tuesday to intimidate attorney Colin Campbell.
Campbell, attorney for County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, responded in detail on Tuesday to the charges against his client, a political opponent of Arpaio and Thomas. Wilcox faces criminal indictments leveled by the duo. Campbell was defiant. And contemptuous. Among the charges leveled against his client, said Campbell, was a conflict-of-interest accusation regarding a board meeting on a day the supervisors never met and a vote Wilcox never logged.
Within hours of the press conference, Campbell himself suddenly became the subject of a sheriff’s investigation. In a hand-delivered letter to the attorney, Arpaio declared Campbell should present himself for an interview – “no later than 5 p.m.” the next day – regarding unrelated conflicts in which Campbell has never been implicated.
Together, the sheriff and the county attorney have established a stunning record in the last year of using their police powers to intimidate their political foes. Until Tuesday, the most brazen demonstration of that abuse was a federal RICO lawsuit filed earlier this month against . . . well, against pretty much everyone the sheriff and county attorney have battled the past 13 months.
But like scofflaws on a crime spree whose assaults become increasingly violent, so the sheriff and county attorney are becoming increasingly bold at mixing political foes into the soup of “crime investigations.”
Think of it: Within hours of launching his defense of Wilcox, the supervisor’s lawyer is forced to defend himself against the daunting power of Joe Arpaio’s badge. This is not the rule of law. It is the rule of brash thuggery.
It demonstrates a frightening callousness on the part of Arpaio and Thomas regarding the power these two men hold. These two elected “law” officers possess the power to damage reputations. And they are using that power. They are capable of intimidating perfectly innocent citizens, to say nothing of draining their bank accounts as they struggle to defend themselves against utterly specious “conspiracy” lawsuits and – in light of recent events – criminal accusations of dubious merit.
Let’s not fool ourselves, shall we? Sheriff Arpaio wanted to send Campbell a message. He wanted his enemies to quake before the terrible might of America’s Toughest Sheriff. There is no higher form of corruption among American officeholders than this.
In fact, there is but one behavior more contemptible than this: The timid unwillingness of Arizona’s political “leaders” to utter a word against it.
The governor has no bully pulpit? The attorney general is without standing to condemn the implosion of the rule of law in Arizona’s most populous county?
There is a cravenness before the power of these lawless men that shames the state. Online pundits who prattle endlessly about “corruption” somehow have failed to notice the chaos. Swaggering local talk-show hosts speak scarcely a word of it. Heaven forbid they pull away the curtain of the All Powerful Joe.
This behavior is wrong. Who will be “investigated” next? Who will they come for next?
There’s not much to add to that.
via Dan Gilmore