John Conyers to Hold Hearings on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Abuses, and Video from Wednesday's Arpaio Pile On in D.C.
One clip from today's media event denouncing Joe Arpaio, and heralding the investigation into him by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The big news out of D.C. for us here in Sand Land, of course, is that the Justice Department is investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office for civil rights violations. Now I've learned from Jonathan Godfrey, the Communications Director for the House Judiciary Committee, that Chairman John Conyers has indicated his committee will hold hearings on Arpaio's abuses in the near future.
Such hearings will be crucial if we have any hope of the feds fully investigating the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's systemic corruption. And judging from the remarks made today in D.C. by Chairman Conyers and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, it sounds as if these men are prepared to see that Arpaio is held accountable for his misdeeds.
(Excerpts of the D.C. press conference have been posted to the House Judiciary's YouTube Channel, and you can watch all of them, here.)
Chairman Conyers (D-Michigan) opened the event by accepting a petition with 35,000 names asking for a probe into Arpaio, and noting that such a probe was now underway by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department. Conyers also denounced racial profiling, no matter what race or ethnicity is targeted.
"We think that in a lot of ways," stated Conyers, "our Hispanic brothers and sisters are becoming the new targets of discrimination [and] profiling that used to occur mostly to African-Americans...We're saying together, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and everyone else: No racial profiling when you're in law enforcement."
New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, went even further in his remarks to specifically lambaste Arpaio.
"We will not sit idly by as Hispanic residents of Maricopa County are routinely singled out, profiled, jailed and deprived of basic human rights," said Nadler at the event, which included Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, as well as other local and national civil rights leaders.
"Sheriff Arpaio's malicious and vigilante practices are not immigration enforcement," he continued. "On the contrary, this is abuse of police power and federal law."
In addition to Wilcox, who also spoke at the event, attendees included Raquel Terran of the Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, Monica Sandschafer of Arizona ACORN, and others.Sandschafer, you may recall, was one of four arrested by one of Arpaio's goons for applauding during a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors' meeting in December.
What I want to know is, where are Arizona's elected Congressmen and Congresswomen? How come we never hear a peep out of them regarding Arpaio? Rep. Ed Pastor is especially guilty in this regard. His district is a safe one for him, and it includes many who have been targeted in Arpaio's raids and sweeps.
The praiseworthy actions of pols like Nadler, Conyers and others whose districts are outside of Arizona, only further demonstrate the cowardice of many of our political leaders here in cactus country. (Supervisor Wilcox and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon being exceptions to this tirade.) Thankfully, someone in political authority gives a whit about the abuse of the constitution in Arizona.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.