Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Confronted by Channel 5 Over Video of Crying Child Robbed of Her Parents by MCSO

KPHO Channel 5 has picked up on the story of Katherine Figueroa, the nine year-old girl robbed of her parents by the MCSO during its raid on Phoenix's Lindstrom Family Auto Wash last Saturday. Her tearful testimony pleading for President Barack Obama's help in springing her parents Sandra and Carlos from Tent City was captured by local pro-immigrant activist Dennis Gilman in a powerful YouTube video, which I posted to this blog Monday morning.

Channel 5 interviewed the girl again and confronted Sheriff Joe Arpaio with the human misery resulting from his immigration raids. True to his egocentric worldview, his first thought was not for the child, but for how the video impacts him.

"That's what this is all about, to embarrass the sheriff," claimed Arpaio, slipping into the third person of a confirmed megalomaniac.

Moments before in the Channel 5 piece, Katherine almost predicted Arpaio's response by describing Arpaio's personality for the camera.

"He just thinks of himself, he doesn't think of other people," observed the weeping child. "He doesn't think of families."

Though undocumented, Katherine's parents are not criminals, but hard workers, who have been in this country for 12 years, according to the KPHO report. Katherine is an American citizen, who now has to live with other family members because Arpaio collared her mom and dad in the Lindstrom raid. Katherine actually watched her father being arrested on TV.

"They're not here to rob," Katherine told Channel 5. "They're not here to kill people. They're just here to work, for America." 

Arpaio, however, refuses to take any responsibility for what his cruel, self-serving immigration policies have wrought.

"The children suffer," complained Arpaio. "But once again, they're the victims. It's the parents that have caused this situation."

Wrong again, Joe. If you were more concerned with locking up real criminals, like murderers and rapists, instead of car washers and gardeners, Katherine's parents would still be buffing cars at Lindstrom's, and Katherine Figueroa would still have her parents. It's important to note that the federal government has already suspended such immigration raids, but they continue on the local level, on the orders of small-minded law enforcement officials with 287(g) authority like Joe. 

This is not the first time the MCSO's destruction of families has been caught on video. Phoenix civil rights leader Salvador Reza famously caught two crying children on tape just after their mother, Ciria Lopez-Pacheco had been torn from them during one of Arpaio's sweeps. That video went viral, and was picked up by the New York Times and HuffingtonPost. I hope this video does the same.

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