Arpaio Awaits Justice as Election Looms

Editor's note: Michael Lacey is the former co-owner of Village Voice Media. He and his partner sold VVM to senior management registered as Voice Media Group. This is his first freelance article for New Times.


At long last, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the celebrated mask of Mexican misery, was in a federal courthouse, waiting to explain himself.

But Arpaio had to cool his heels while the trial's initial witness, one of his own, explained the inexplicable.

The first deputy to raise his hand and swear to tell the truth set the standard for outlandish testimony that permeated Arpaio's trial.

And the deputy's own lawyer doubled down on his client's nonsense with the sort of tortured logic that only an attorney can float with a straight face.

"[Deputy Louis Dipietro] could not see the race of the driver or the occupants," intoned Tim Casey, hired to defend Sheriff Arpaio and his officers against allegations of racial profiling and abuse of power.

Casey's point was that race had nothing to do with the roundup of Mexicans over the past six years that triggered Ortega Melendres v. Joseph M. Arpaio, the lawsuit that had triggered the proceeding.

Casey demonstrated incredible brass.

Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres was stopped and detained solely because he was Mexican.

To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.

The sheriff stationed undercover officers to observe day laborers in a church parking lot.

The undercover deputies then alerted Deputy Dipietro when brown-skinned people got into a vehicle and only when brown-skinned people got into a vehicle.

Dipietro specifically was instructed to pull over the truck undercover officers saw Melendres enter.

The lawyers began the lying. And the deputies tempered their falsehoods with obfuscation and a sort of blunt-force racism that just isn't on public display in this day and age.

But what else would you expect from deputies employed by a sheriff who brags about how he lies in courtrooms?


The law, of course, forbids racial profiling. But the law, particularly Arizona Senate Bill 1070, as applied, is a funny thing. It sanctions a farce that runs like this: You cannot pull over a car simply because it's occupied by blacks or, in this case, browns. However, you are permitted to stop any vehicle for the slightest infraction: a cracked windshield, a dim light over a license plate, the tiniest transgression of speed, safety, or other rules of the road.

Several of Arpaio's deputies testified: If they followed a car — any car — they found probable cause to pull over a driver within minutes. And once they stopped a driver for an infraction, they were permitted to make inquiries regarding immigration status.

So law enforcement cannot harass minorities until after hyper-vigilant automobile inspection. But once a badge curtsies to that technicality, it becomes worse than white on rice.

In the case of Deputy Dipietro and Arpaio's church sweep, they could not even be bothered with legal fictions. First they spotted the Mexicans, then they found the violation, then they came to court and pretended they didn't do it.

Melendres was removed from the car, detained by the MCSO, then transported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where it was discovered he had his immigration papers in order. His visa was current.

In custody for nearly eight hours, Melendres was a clear example of the Fourth Amendment anxiety the Supreme Court expressed when it considered the constitutional problems of SB 1070. The justices worried that lawmen would detain people unreasonably.

Justice Stephen Breyer framed the issue: "Can you represent to us he will not stay in jail in detention for a longer period of time than he would have stayed in the absence of section 2B [the part of 1070 eventually upheld]?"

Paul Clement, representing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the proponents of 1070, responded to Justice Breyer: "No. He's not going to be detained any longer than the Fourth Amendment allows. The immigration-status inquiry is something that takes 10 or 11 minutes."

Melendres' eight hours was not unusual. Nor was it constitutional.

Deputy Dipietro, who followed and then stopped the vehicle Melendres rode in, made an unusual witness. His testimony was almost cartoonish. He considered every question, even those from his own attorney, as possible traps. He pondered long and hard before surrendering an answer. He avoided words as if they were germs. When he finally responded, he resorted to cop-speak, the law enforcement equivalent of Spanglish.

"Well, the driver was in a means of transportation [truck]. He didn't know the occupants [day laborers], and they were coming from a parking lot [of a church]," recounted Dipietro. "The Human Smuggling Unit was investigating for some type of crime or possible crimes [Mexican entering truck]. I believe that there's possible reasonable suspicion to think that they might be involved [in smuggling] . . . Yes, most of the ones that I came across."

Where others saw day laborers as men willing to hire themselves out for odd jobs, Dipietro saw smugglers.

"You believe most day laborers are undocumented?"

"Yes."

"How many times have you been involved in operations relating to day laborers?"

"That was the only one."

He went on to say that his deductions were based upon the day laborers encountered that day.

1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
217 comments
thespecialneedsgroup
thespecialneedsgroup

Looking at the above picture, I the only thing I can think is, why in the name of Hell does a civil law enforcement agency need an M2 heavy machine gun?

Guerro
Guerro

Ahhh! I love the sound of proggies crying.

danitaford78
danitaford78

to aron i am not from here and i did not come over with a may flower ship i came from my mother so if you do not know me you should keep your comment to yourself .And he is a racist man that only has power and control that he use to no avail .How do you think he won by paying people and keeping all the mexicans from votinig yesterday so he could win.

newcomer
newcomer

Wow thats crazy stuff I almost hate to ask but I know somewhere along the line Sheriff Joe has apparently done some good stuff for some shitty people. I dont agree with dragging Obama into the article but I do find it interesting that the people who might have had the opportunity to nip this in the bud either co signed it or backed it. I for one didnt vote for him I detest his policies and rate him somewhere in the Hitler regime is it any wonder he embraced the KKK how is he different?

Anon
Anon

Thank You Michael Lacey for a direct & very readable article. 

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Arpaio and his enablers over twenty years of creating "castes" in Arizona and America. It was not enough to get after African-Americans but a "new" group was created, "criminalized" and a "new caste" of "legalized segregation" for Hispanics to add to America's shameful history of racist, bigotry and hatred. Very evident in this election. What they don't realize is this is their war on the people and our own nation as they are self-destructing not only Arizona but the nation, with his supporters Senators McCain, Kyle and Trent Franks who have profited handsomely from all this. Its a sick game that has been played for years by those we elect, who use us/the taxpayers for their personal "piggy bank"

 

Watch the war on our nation, decades of failure that is endless unless the people step up..

 

The House I Live In Official Trailer #1 (2012) Drugs Documentary Movie HD - YouTube

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8

ainjunwon
ainjunwon

ArPaio is a "nut" BUT at least he's a "Nut" I trust . . . . his track record :)

candey8111
candey8111

Thank you for writing a concise fact-filled fair article without assumptions. Too bad your other writers don't follow your example

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Folks, you need to demand "term limits" for County Sheriffs and County Attorneys, who have shown they have abused their power for years while "branding" themselves, paid for by the taxpayers. This reign of terror must be stopped.

1070-24-7-365
1070-24-7-365

I hope Sheriff Joe is re-elected just so I can hear the whines for the prog-tards.  "Waaah, racism! Waaah! homophobia!  Get used to it, Holder will be gone soon and Sheriff Joe would make a great replacement

50Hz
50Hz

How many of you all are okay with letting all kinds of strangers run in and out your own home at any time, day or night? I'm sure most people would say that they have rules and boundaries they enforce for their own homes. What would happen if the law didn't protect people and their homes?

ted409
ted409

arpaio will prevail .... hes been thru alot tougher elections than this .. he needs to go home and enjoy his retirement at age 78 hes got a good reason to go home . the pima county sheriff is about as lold and wise 

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

Arpaio and his landlord Wells Fargo.

 

Wells Fargo Courts Latinos While Investing in Private Prisons That Profit From Detaining Immigrants: Report Calls for Bank to Break Ties

 

http://truth-out.org/news/item/11813-wells-fargo-courts-latinos-while-investing-in-private-prisons-that-profit-from-detaining-immigrants-report-calls-for-bank-to-break-ties excerpt:

 

"Wells Fargo has marketed itself as the bank of choice for Latinos, yet a new report details the bank's ties to the private prision industry, which lobbies for, and profits from, stepped-up enforcement and criminalization of immigration laws, like Arizona's SB 1070."

 

Meanwhile, Maricopa County Sheriff has enjoyed years in the top penthouse floors of suites in the luxury Wells Fargo Bank building. Raises red flags.  Immigrant clients = potential customers for the County Sheriff, his jails and the private prisons.

 

ConcernedCitizenAZ
ConcernedCitizenAZ topcommenter

The people need to demand "term limits" for County Sheriffs and County Attorneys, who have shown they have abused their power for years while "branding" themselves, paid for by the taxpayers. This reign of terror must be stopped.

dockhooty
dockhooty

Very simple answer is if Feds would enforce their own immagration laws we wouldn't be having this conversation and Arizona wouldn't be paying for lawsuits backed by the folks that don't enforce the laws passed by the U. S. congress. If you break the law I don't care what your race is you should be punished, it just happens that their is more Mexican crossing our border than Canadians, with out papers or pass ports visas or other papers.

 

redperk1964
redperk1964

do the people in Maridopa County know what percentage of their taxes go for just paying lawsuits the County has lost because of this bag of s_it !

roadfunk
roadfunk

This 80 year old butt potato should be forced to retire. 

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

Dont like the laws gtf back to mexico !!!!!!!

artfire1557
artfire1557

Yiou're so right. He's a nut. A racist, bully who has nearly everyone fooled into thinking he's a good,  tough, sheriff. But the truth is he is s corrupt lawman I've ever known. The list of illegal and costly things he's done is too long to even list. He is only in charge of criminals in jail for either ; waiting trial or in for only 1 year or less. He is not in charge of the bad criminals such as murderers, as he would let you believe. He's just great at promoting himself.Not good for Arizona. 

allanbartlett
allanbartlett

 @1070-24-7-365

 I progged your mamas tard tunnel, where you slipped out, covered in my sperm.

Go sniff your fingertips, sheep fucker.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @1070-24-7-365 

 

Prog-tards? LOL!!!

 

You idiots are too stupid to even think up your own insults, you have to steal others.

 

Lame... really really lame.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @50Hz 

 

If Joe actually protected people ant their homes, you would have a point, but he doesn't.

 

He is too interested in how much face time he can get in front of the closest camera as he arrests yet another US Citizen who happens to be brown.

Anon
Anon

 @dockhooty Schooled in AZ? Beautifully illiterate..... ahhh

Anon
Anon

 @redperk1964  Not to mention healthcare for the 'bigfatburger', who should be  a goner due to ALL his lack of standards. Well said ~ from a rape  & assault victim, in the Mecca of DENIAL of Human Rights/ Maricopa county, a dustbowl tornado of hatred.

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @redperk1964 Well if there weren't so many illegals here thinking they had rights in our country , backed by these civil liberty unions there would be no lawsuits !!!!!    imagine if you went to Russia and waiving  an American flag and demanded rights and weren't a Russian citizen... WTF do you think would happen there.. Come into our country the right way the legal way or go home.

grandforksnd2000
grandforksnd2000

 @redperk1964

 And paying for all the illegals to go to the emergency room with our tax money.  Educating them for FREE.

sarum
sarum

@eurosportm3 This is how most of the world thinks, including our neighbor to the south. It does not mean racism necessarily. Even in Mexico they deny being racist when they do things that would be huge lawsuit here. I agree with euro - one comes to a nation to benefit - many immigrants and refugees are torn between their "community" and becoming a full US person. Some have told me "I did not come here to live in Litle VietNam, (substitute litte Mexico, little Italy, little Hmong) and unless the laws are egregiously problematic - say if they are being invited to nation but laws are very prejudice against them - then they have right to file suit (if the nation allows such) - but to just wish to change the laws and make it like the nation they left cuz that is what they like - no. They came here because it is not like the nation they left.

JOEgottaGO
JOEgottaGO

 @eurosportm3 eurosperm why in the world would you say something like that?  Why dont you go somewhere where you are the minority.  Try doing something to better yourself and see what its like to be in their shoes.  Are you an American Citizen??  The Euro in your name makes me think otherwise.  Put yourself in the position these people are in...I bet your ideas might change a little.

mrh0202201091
mrh0202201091

Whites in mexico are breaking laws all the time ...you don t know about that do you..

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

 @eurosportm3  @redperk1964 

 

Hey idiot, the lawsuits are from US Citizens that Joe has arrested and/or detained simply because they are brown.

 

They are also for people who have not been convicted of any crime being killed by deliberate officer neglect in his jails. US Citizens and in at least one case, a US Veteran!

 

Your analogy is also total BULLSHIT since the laws of this country are not the same as the laws of russia. You want those laws, move there.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967

 @grandforksnd2000  You can thank the U.S. Supreme Court for the free education for illegals.

 

The 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision created "separate but equal" education for minorities.

 

The 1982 Plyler vs. Doe decision reaffirmed the 1954 decision.

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @sarum  @eurosportm3 Not racist idiot !!!! just telling mexicans if they like mexico so much go home !!!!! i have many friends that are mexican , spanish , black , whatever !!!!! but they are LEGAL and there parents came here the legal way as did mine from Greece , they pay there taxes , work and put money back into the economy not Mexicos , look all i'm saying is come here legally pay your taxes put your hard earned money back into the American economy and fly both flags with pride.....

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @JOEgottaGO I am somewhere where i am a minority , my own state where i was born and raised a$$wipe , tired of all these illegals protesting they have rights in Arizona , your illegal you have no rights stop waiving your mexican flag ,  if your so proud of mexico go back home.....

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @truthseekeraz Not racist just tired of illegals coming here ILLEGALLY , i have no problem if they enter our country LEGALLY and want to contribute to our economy and not mexico's , illegals are taxing our health care system affecting our childrens education by making our kids learn spanish only !!!! you came to our country learn english why should we have to learn spanish you are in our country , just shows how bad the problem is , you go to certain parts of Phoenix and all signs and billboards are in spanish its like little mexico , smells like it too......

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @taxpayer88 Big whoop i pay taxes too and no if your illegal you aint going wtf you want , time to take back our home Arizona !!!!!!

sarum
sarum

@MaskedMagician19 Figures "Flyer" would "like" the incorrect interpretation. Where is your anal righteousness about "just the facts" now? Brown did NOT create separate but equal - Brown's intent was to eliminate the existence of separate but equal. Never let a fact error get in the way of liking a good asswipe. Rally the troops!

sarum
sarum

@MaskedMagician1967 Were you waiting for someone to catch this one? No Brown was a landmark decision AGAINST "separate but equal." In fact most minority schools only taught how to be servile - they were not "equal." Plyler vs. Doe re-affirmed NOTHING. Plyler vs Doe said that children of illegal aliens cannot be denied FAPE K-12 and that districts cannot levy fees to attend public schools in order to fund their attendance when they don't pay in taxes. IOW, the states knew that the unfunded mandate to educate illegals was going to break them financially eventually so they were pro-active about it and levied tuition fees to families of children in public schools whose parents were not paying taxes to support the school. Not prejudice - just sound economic policy. But the effect is prejudice cuz how can a low-wage field worker afford "tuition"? They cannot. So the greater good was considered that having uneducated population was going to cost more over the long term. Likewise having an unmedicated (no health care) population ends up costing way more in the long run, especially when easily transmissable diseases are on the prowl. Both sides have good points. I don't know what the answer is because we are now quite broke and this is just one of the many causes. I have sibling that was illegal alien in another nation. She never got her education. That particular nation does not concern itself with the rights of illegals and deports them regularly and the rest of the EU says nothing. Nor does the World Court, International Human Rights . . .none of them say boo.

sarum
sarum

@eurosportm3 @sarum I was defending you as not necessarily racist stating that most of the world holds your view towards their illegal immigrants. Whose the idiot now?

eurosportm3
eurosportm3

 @AZHighways  @JOEgottaGO I agree with you Joe , if you are going to live in America show respect to the flag , but i also know the latinos are very proud of their culture as they should be , so fly both flags with pride as i said before and come here legally , no problems with that on my end , problem solved...

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...