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Arpaio Corruption: The Feds Have Spoken, But Justice Won't Be Served Until the Sheriff's Indicted

Jack MacIntyre is paid more than $120,000 a year to justify and rationalize the ill deeds for which his boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, ultimately is culpable.

These include the wrongful deaths that take place regularly in Arpaio's jails, the persecution of Arpaio's enemies by his underlings, the Sheriff's Office's rampant corruption, its malfeasance and dereliction of duty, its institutionalized racial profiling, and its gross disregard for constitutional rights.

So his smarmy reply at Arpaio's recent press conference to the U.S. Department of Justice's bombshell report on the MCSO's well-documented mania for racial profiling hardly was a surprise.

"There are really no specific allegations in [the report]," MacIntyre buffaloed reporters. "There are generalities. There are claims made by a few people that are unidentified."

The deputy chief's lips were moving — so Mac­Intyre, of course, was lying.

But, then, MacIntyre, at the same presser, moronically compared the DOJ report to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

The report, in the form of a letter of findings from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tom Perez, actually is full of specifics that back up its characterization of the MCSO's policies as "the most egregious [case] of racial profiling in the Unites States."

The report states at one point, "The MCSO has implemented practices that treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented."

In reading that line, I felt as though I'd written it — on many other occasions and in many different ways.

In 2009, when dealing with the case of a green-card-carrying father and his 12-year-old American-citizen son (who were zip-tied and treated like ordinary criminals by MCSO goons because their home was next to a drop house), I observed:

"To the MCSO, all Hispanics are suspected of being illegal aliens until proved otherwise."

Both the legal-resident dad and his son are named Fili Gaucin. The names of Gaucin junior and senior are not mentioned in Perez's letter, but their treatment is described in detail.

On the day in question, Gaucin senior was at home when MCSO thugs knocked on his door. He cooperated with them, let them search his home without a warrant, and answered questions about his neighbors, though he didn't know what they were up to.

Though Gaucin had his green card on him, deputies took him outside, zip-tied his hands, and sat him down with those the MCSO was removing from the drop house next door.

As if that weren't bad enough, Arpaio's boys in beige went for his son, placing the kid in zip ties that hurt his wrists. They were detained for about an hour before getting released without explanation.

Perez avoided naming the Gaucins when describing the incident. He used it as just one example of the "widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminate against Latinos."

New Times readers should be familiar with these allegations, because I and other writers here proved them in a 2009 series titled "Are Your Papers in Order?" and in stories published before and since.

In fact, I wrote about the Gaucins twice, once in March and once on October 29, 2009 ("Joe Arpaio Zip-Ties a 12-Year-Old"). Other news outlets covered the Gaucins, as well. Both MacIntyre and Arpaio are well aware of the incident.

The Gaucins, of course, are just one example of how the MCSO treats Hispanics as second-class citizens. There are so many other examples that it would take an encyclopedia to detail them all.

There also is the case of Julio and Julian Mora, another father-and-son pair in which the dad is a legal permanent resident and the son an American citizen.

In 2009, the Moras were handcuffed and held for three hours without cause during an MCSO immigration raid, one in which the sheriff's men looked for illegal landscapers. With the help of the ACLU of Arizona, the Moras sued the MCSO, receiving a $200,000 settlement.

Over the years, I've brought you accounts of Latina moms whose arms were broken or their jaws busted in MCSO custody. I've given you accounts of parents torn from their crying children by MCSO deputies wearing black ski masks and bulletproof vests.

Other New Times reporters have recounted stories of permanent residents getting physically abused and, in one instance, a medieval scene in which a Latina was shackled to her bed as she gave birth.

No, the Perez letter doesn't retell each of these stories. It doesn't have to.

Over three-plus years, DOJ investigators and analysts interviewed witnesses and victims. The DOJ sued for access to records, MCSO personnel, and the jails themselves. They ultimately won — and were able to nail down the systemic nature of the MCSO's ill deeds.

They found Latino drivers four to nine times more likely to be stopped by the MCSO. Twenty percent of all stops made by the MCSO's notorious Human Smuggling Unit were done "without reasonable suspicion or probable cause."

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