America’s Lamest Sheriff

03 Apr 2008 10:31 pm
Posted by: Donna

In my eleven years living in Greater Phoenix, I’ve not had much regard for Sheriff Joe.  Maybe it’s function of my having served in the military, and then working in a male-dominated blue collar mileu for several years after.  I’d decided I’d had it up to here with blustery, insecure males strutting around and obviously overcompensating for err…. shortcomings.   Back in my younger and cuter days, they almost invariably chose to creep out and irritate the ever-loving crap out of me, behavior I was supposed to interpret as “harmless flirting”.  Barf.

Besides, I’ve always hated bullies.   So I’ve never understood Joe’s popularity.   Are people that unable to discern that the top law enforcement official in the county is essentially Nelson from the Simpsons?    Apparently.  Or maybe they do realize it but they confuse cruelty with toughness.  As long on the bully is picking on someone besides them. 

Anyway, last night I attended a panel discussion at ASU Law School, led by 3 people who are pretty familiar with what a tinpot fascist thug our celebrity Sheriff is. 

Michael Manning started off.  He’s an attorney who left a lucrative career in corporate law to represent people who had been horribly mistreated in the gulag affectionately known as “Tent City”, or the relatives of those inmates who had been killed by sadistic guards.  Mike’s first case was a young man who had his larnyx kicked in by a guard, and then was strapped into a “Restraint Chair” while guards pushed his head into his chest.  When one of the jailers warned that the inmate was suffocating, the response by the two doing the choking was, “Who gives a f***!” and “Who gives a sh**!”, respectively.   Mike settled that case, securing an award of $8 million for the man’s family.  He went on to succeed in a string of cases involving equally horrific treatment and wrongful deaths of inmates, including a mentally retarded man who weighed 125 lbs.  Another one who died in the Restraint Chair.

Oh but, they were criminals, I can hear the Sheriff Joe fans argue.  Never mind that most of them don’t understand the distinction between jail and prison.  Jail is for detaining people.  People who haven’t been to trial and may have not even been charged yet.  Or people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor.   Like the legally blind and mentally disabled man who got caught stealing dishtowels.  They put him in tent city, despite the jail doctors strongly advising against it.  They refused to give him the medication he needed to manage his mental illness.  Then a guard beat him up for acting out.  He was placed in solitary confinement and fed twice in six days. 

He “fell out of his bed” and broke his neck.  Supposedly.  But hey, he was a dangerous dishtowel thief.

The next speakers were Joel Robbins from the Lawyer’s Guild and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.  Joel talked about how Arpaio has been targetting his political enemies with ridiculous arrests.  Like the now infamous arrest of the New Times owners and the guy who got nabbed by Sheriff’s deputies for impersonating a peace officer because of his Halloween costume.  He was getting signatures for a ballot initiative that Joe opposed.   Our brave Sheriff has also been using the resources of the office of that equally valiant County Attorney, Andy Thomas, to launch investigations and bar complaints against people with the audacity to think taxpayer dollars ought to be spent on, you know, actual law enforcement and public safety.  Not nifty gadgets and junkets and an international PR person for Joe, and not lucre for Andy’s attorney buds.

Kyrsten finished up by describing how Arpaio’s scapegoats have morphed from the pink underwear-wearing dishtowel thieves to the brown people. So now he’s taken up the worthy cause of ridding the state of dangerous landscapers and maids and orange vendors. He’s aided in this, as Kyrsten explained, by the fact that a bill designed to go after human trafficking was distorted by the Lege such that people who were brought here by coyotes are equally guilty of human trafficking. Of themselves. Seriously.

At this writing, the Sheriff is pretty much dedicated to rounding up these terrorists full time. The MCSO is much too busy to go after the 40,000 outstanding felony warrants in Maricopa County. So quit whining about your car or identity being stolen and how Baseline shooters and rapist/murderers run loose in the community for months. Lou Dobbs was cutting into Joe Arpaio’s fan base, dammit! Where are your priorities?

Unfortunately the discussion, while elucidating to the people in attendance, was kind of a preaching to the choir thing. Everyone in the audience was either a law student or a progressive activist of some type. Joel Robbins made the point that the whole thing was worthless if we didn’t get the message out to others. So that’s what I’m doing here: Letting my fellow Divas know that Joe Arpaio is a dangerous clown. If he likes being famous so much, why doesn’t someone just give him a reality show or something? Just please take his badge and authority away.

Speaking of which, Dan Saban is running against Arpaio. He’s a really cool guy and an actual cop. He’s been endorsed by oodles of AZ police organizations, who are getting tired of cleaning up after Joe’s play time. Support Dan and tell everyone you know that Joe has got to go.



  1. Comment by Dana on April 4, 2008 6:23 am

    This is a really important race on many levels. If this state re-elects Joe it will empower Joe to continue on this crusade of racial profiling and allowing hate and anger and racism to continue. I could not agree with you more- Joe has got to go and that is a strong message that might resonate with voters.

  2. Comment by me on April 17, 2008 1:39 am

    I think that Sheriff Joe is doing an amazing job.. He is doing the job that all the police chiefs in the county should be doing. I was a Dem untill just a couple of weeks ago and I tell you the number one reason I left the party is becasue of the illigals problem.. I just see Dems wanting to let these law breakers in…
    I am so fed up with the racial profilling argument, these people broke the law and they deserve to be sent home.
    It makes me laugh when I see people call him Hitler etc… And all the fools who protest against the deputies these men are just doing thre job.. The Pro illigal wing is putting these police mens lives at risk… I say GO JOE GO

  3. Comment by Yoyo on April 20, 2008 6:34 pm

    No, “me”, you weren’t a Dem to begin with. Democrats are not single issue voters. Democrats are not morons. But you couldn’t have been a “Dem” since you seem to be so keyed in on this issue, and because you are a moron. Thanks for a good laugh!

    Oh – and please go back to school to learn how to spell. Remember, people like you are pushing for English only, so you should learn how to use it; or maybe I’ll file a motion to deport you to idiot-land.

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