The Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement this afternoon calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to look into accusations of racial profiling by the MCSO as part of Sheriff Joe's anti-immigrant dragnets. The press release reads:
ADL CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF PROFILING SURROUNDING MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE “CRIME SUPPRESSION SWEEPS”
Phoenix, AZ, April 11, 2008. The Anti-Defamation League today has called upon the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate mounting allegations of profiling during Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “Crime Suppression Sweeps.”
Anti-Defamation League Board Chairman David Bodney, and Regional Director Bill Straus stated:
“We are deeply troubled by allegations of profiling that have surfaced recently in the media and from leaders of the Latino community. Numbers of people have been detained during the “sweeps”, but not all of them have been found to be undocumented. This raises serious questions about the process and its effect upon the community."
I rang ADL Regional Director Bill Straus, who explained why the ADL decided to take this step.
"We're just hearing an increasing number of these allegations," said Straus. "And we're not in the position to know whether the allegations are true or not. So we decided to go on the record and call for some way of determining if this is in fact happening. And if it is, it's gonna have to stop. But if it's not, we need to know that too. The community needs to know it."
Straus stated that he had not talked to Arpaio or anyone at the MCSO before issuing the press release to the media. So far, the response to the ADL's stance by callers has been overwhelmingly positive, said Strauss.
"I don't have a conversation with a mayor, or another city official of any city in the Valley or a police official that doesn't usually lead off with the subject of Sheriff Arpaio and his `crime suppression sweeps,'" related Straus.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is already doing a general investigation into the way 287g agreements with ICE are being implemented nationwide. (See, "287G-Men," from last week's Bird column.) But as Arpaio continues his obviously unconstitutional dragnets aimed at Hispanics, the opposition to these patrols is spreading, from the Goldwater Institute's Clint Bolick last week, to the Anti-Defamation League today.
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Interestingly, the Sheriff has not set up in Mesa this week so far, as was anticipated, though he has vowed to hit Mesa in the near future, in response to a recent "invitation" from Mesa-based neo-Nazi-hugger state Rep. Russell Pearce, and a gaggle of Pearce's legislative cronies.
On Tuesday, Mesa's police chief George Gascon very publicly asked Arpaio for two days heads-up on any MCSO invasion of his fair city, in hopes of avoiding the riot Arpaio seems hell-bent on inciting. You can read the letter in its entirety, here. I like the line, "I know you share my same concern for the safety and well being of the City of Mesa..." Sure, Arpaio does, Chief...Not!
I'm not so naive as to believe that one letter from Gascon will keep Arpaio at bay. On the other hand, every little bit helps embolden others to take a stand against our power-mad top cop. Now we can add the ADL to ranks of those individuals and entities seeking to place some sort of check on Joe's power. Along with the New York Times, Mayor Phil Gordon, the Goldwater Institute, the entire town of Guadalupe, and on and on.