Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Early Christmas Gift from President Obama and the U.S. Attorney's Office

See also: Andy Thomas Needs a Perp Walk With His Papi, Sheriff Joe Arpaio See also: No Charges for Arpaio: U.S. Closes Criminal Investigation of Maricopa Sheriff and Former County Attorney Andrew Thomas See also: The Feds Have Evidence That Joe Arpaio Broke the Law -- When Will The Indictments Come? See also: Joe Arpaio Joins Lawyer Dennis Wilenchik on the Hook for 2007 Arrests of VVM Executive Editor and CEO

So if Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies knock on your door this evening and arrest you on ginned- up charges because you happen to be a critic of the way the MCSO does business, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI will look the other way.

If you're a law-abiding civil servant who just happens to work for a politician who opposes Joe and you're harassed by MCSO bullies because of it, count on the U.S. Department of Justice to sit on its hands.

You could be a state attorney general or a newspaper editor or a powerful county supervisor, but Arpaio and his henchmen have carte blanche to intimidate you or to pull you handcuffed into an unmarked car in the middle of the night or perp walk you on bogus allegations that are no more than political payback.

Maybe you're an average Hispanic citizen, sitting in your house, minding your own business when Joe's goon squad searches your home without a warrant and zip ties you and your 12-year-old son just because you're brown and live in the wrong neighborhood.

What will the guardians of your civil liberties do as law enforcement officers, operating under the color of law, conspire to deprive you of your rights under the U.S. Constitution?

Sure, they might take your complaint. Heck, if they get enough complaints from enough high-ranking politicos, they might even crack open a federal grand jury and drag in some witnesses from the law enforcement agency in question.

But don't count on them to actually make a case or bring charges. That's the kind of stuff that only happens in movies.

It's enough to make you want to go Ron Paul on 'em. What good are the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice, of which the FBI and the USAO are both a part, if they cannot protect citizens from the repeated, criminal violations of rogue police agencies?

That's the main conclusion you can draw from the bomb dropped by the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office at 5 p.m. on a Friday before a three-day weekend that it was ending its four-year investigation into "allegations of criminal conduct by current and former members of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office."

The cowardice of this press release, signed off on by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Scheel, is colossal.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons