Joe Arpaio, Clueless or Cunning? Sheriff Does His Sgt. Schultz Impersonation During Seven Hour Depo in Racial Profiling Lawsuit (Depo Attached)
Sheriff Joe called this a "vicious" cover during his recent seven hour depo. But, Joe, it was done with love. Really.
A cross between Ronald Reagan post-presidency and Sgt. Schultz from a Hogan's Heroes rerun: That's the impression Sheriff Joe Arpaio gave recently during a seven hour deposition under oath as part of the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial-profiling lawsuit now working its way through federal court.
Under rigorous interrogation by David Bodney, attorney for the firm of Steptoe & Johnson, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, Arpaio admitted that he had never read the complaint in the case, was unfamiliar with the details of the allegations of racial profiling therein, didn't know the content of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and had never read the Department of Justice's guidelines concerning the use of race in investigations, which would have applied to his deputies in the field when they were still operating under a 287(g) agreement with ICE.
Indeed, our seemingly hapless sheriff was completely uninterested in any claims against MCSO deputies regarding allegations of racial profiling. He expressed complete confidence that his men would never engage in the practice, and deferred to his staff, particularly Deputy Chief Brian Sands, as to why certain areas of Maricopa County were targeted for anti-immigration sweeps.
In one of the more amusing passages of a highly entertaining 306 page document, Arpaio confessed that he hadn't even bothered to read in its entirety his latest book, Joe's Law, co-written by Arpaio's slithery, long-time sycophant Len Sherman.
Asked if the 2008 book reflected his views, Arpaio waffled.
"I am not sure," Arpaio replied. "To the best of my knowledge, I haven't reviewed the book recently. In fact, I haven't even read the book...totally."
Questioned about sections of Joe's tome that speculated about a "reconquista" of the southwestern U.S., returning it to Mexico, or that compared -- unfavorably -- Mexican immigrants to putatively upstanding Italian immigrants like his parents, Arpaio once again blamed the dog, um, I mean, Sherman.
"I am going to say again, I did no research," Arpaio told Bodney. "This is my co-author -- his part of the book. So this is what he was saying, not me."
Heck, Arpaio doesn't even take responsibility for the book's subtitle, America's Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America. Bodney wondered whether Arpaio regarded illegal immigration as a "threat" to the country.
"I don't call it a threat on America per se," replied Joe.
"You know what is on the cover of your book...and on its title?" asked Bodney.
"Everybody doesn't believe what you read in the books, right?" countered Joe. "I am just telling you that that was there and whoever put that title there, I didn't oppose it."
Actually, no one should swallow whole what they read in Arpaio's book, filled as it is with bogus yarns about nonexistent plots on his life, how he helped break the French Connection (the New York cop who brought down the French Connection thinks otherwise), and how he once pulled over Elvis Presley back in the day (sure you did, Joe).
Arpaio's cluelessness extends far beyond his own memoirs, extending to ignorance over how possible sites for anti-immigrant sweeps are researched. Arpaio also displays a gross lack of curiosity over allegations of racial profiling. You're left wondering if Arpaio's senile or has simply adopted a coy strategy aimed at throwing up roadblocks in Bodney's way, obfuscating as much as he can.
On the one hand, Bodney does coax Arpaio into owning some of his most damning statements concerning Mexican migrants and racial profiling. For instance, Arpaio concedes that he told GQ Magazine, "They check fruits and vegetables. How come they don't check people. No one talks about that...They're all dirty."
Arpaio cops to linking Mexican immigrants to the swine flu epidemic, and to making statements at a press conference in 2007 that "Ours is an operation where we want to go after illegals not the crime first...It's a pure program. You go after them, and you lock them up." You know, before you've determined if there's a crime or not.
In many cases, Bodney played videotape or entered press accounts into the record of Arpaio spewing his Archie Bunker-isms, practically admitting that he racially profiles. Bodney goes through the whole catalogue of the sheriff's stupidities, from Arpaio stating in a news clip from KPHO that he can tell who is illegal because they look like they "just came from Mexico," to his threat to raid Mesa again based on some negative statements made about him by the Mayor's wife (as reported in William Finnegan's New Yorker piece), and on to his extended foot-in-mouth moment on Glenn Beck's Fox News show, where Arpaio said he will continue to enforce federal immigration law even though he'd just been shorn of his 287(g) street authority by ICE.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.