Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Lies About Racial Profiling, and MCSO Deputies Screw Up on Video (Again)

When it comes to the ACLU's big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio, the MCSO clown car, as driven by geriatric joker Sheriff Joe Arpaio, just keeps on rollin', despite U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow's best efforts.

In fact, Snow has called a status conference for April 3, where some of the MCSO's latest shenanigans may become a topic of discussion. More on that order in a sec.

So get this: Two days after Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan were chastised by Snow for their remarks about his ruling and order in Melendres, Arpaio sent out a fundraising letter, begging for money from gullible Joe-worshippers, and basically saying the same thing that he said to his deputies in an October meeting, which got him in trouble with the judge.

Read Judge Snow's order on his changes to the injunction in Melendres.

In the letter, Arpaio complains of, "Rampant UNFOUNDED [sic] charges of racism and racial profiling in my office."

Call it what you want, Joe, but there was a trial in 2012, and in May 2013, Judge Snow concluded that the MCSO had used race as a factor in determining where to have their notorious Hispanic-hunting sweeps, and as the judge himself restated recently, "in deciding which vehicles to pre-textually stop for traffic violations."

Read a transcript of the March 24 hearing where Show dressed down Sheridan and Arpaio.

Moreover, when Arpaio's immigration authority was whacked by the feds, the MCSO continued its racial profiling ways, and, as Snow has observed, wrongly instructed deputies that they had "the inherent authority to enforce civil and/or administrative aspects of federal immigration law with or without valid 287(g) certification."

During Monday's hearing, Snow expressed his extreme displeasure with Sheridan's calling his ruling "crap," and making other misstatements to deputies just as they were about to participate in an October sweep in the West Valley.

He was also ticked with Joe's saying the following to his gendarmes:

"We don't racially profile. I don't care what everybody says. We're just doing our job. We had the authority to arrest illegal aliens under the federal programs."

Read the notice to Judge Snow from Tim Casey referencing Chief Deputy Trombi's misstatements.

Maybe Arpaio should attempt reading the opening brief filed by his lawyers in the MCSO's appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That brief doesn't dispute that there was racial-profilin' going on. It merely challenges Snow's finding that it was occurring outside of the sweeps.

"Defendants are not challenging the court's findings and conclusions with respect to immigration-related saturation patrols," writes one of Joe's attorneys in the appeal. "They do challenge the injunction as it relates to MCSO regular patrols."

See, the appeal concedes that Arpaio's beige-shirts violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Latinos during the saturation patrols.

Which means that Joe Arpaio's statement above to his possible contributors is a big, fat honkin' lie.

But I doubt Joe's mendacity with contributors crosses a line with Judge Snow.

Indeed, Snow made it clear that he respects Arpaio's First Amendment rights. It only becomes a problem when Arpaio's violating the terms of Snow's order, such as in instructions given to deputies.

"I respect their ability to publicly state their disagreement," Snow told Arpaio and Sheridan's lawyer Tim Casey in court Monday. "And I don't even expect them to be fair about their public statements about their disagreement and the reasons why. From my assessment, they certainly haven't been, but that is their right. I recognize that. It changes when we talk about how they instruct their officers."

Interestingly, more videotape has surfaced, this time from a community meeting MCSO deputies participated in on March 15. Snow mentioned this video during the Monday hearing, and asked that it be turned over.

Casey did so Thursday, admitting to misstatements by Deputy Chief David Trombi as he was talking with a group of DREAMers during the March 15 confab.

Casey writes, in part, that:

The lodged DVD is roughly 2.5 hours in length. Toward the end of the meeting, an unidentified man sitting next to Ms. Lydia Guzman, the corporate representative of Plaintiff We Are America/Somos America and a witness at the trial of this matter, asked a question of MCSO Chief David Trombi.

In response, Chief Trombi explained the Court's Order, in part, by making an incorrect reference to 14 second longer traffic stops of Latinos and an incomplete reference to two deputies having been found to use race in determining alienage as taught by ICE.

Without waiving any privilege, Chief Trombi now knows, understands, and appreciates the full evidentiary basis found by the Court in issuing its injunctive relief.

Trombi's misstatement mirrors the one made by Sheridan in October, where in addition to calling the ruling "crap," Sheridan tried to reduce Snow's finding of widespread abuse into a couple of Latinos being kept for 14 seconds longer than usual during a stop.

Since Trombi's verbal misfire took place in an official setting, it's more relevant than Arpaio's untruthful statement to potential donors.

Channel 12's Joe Dana got hold of another video, apparently of the same meeting, which according to Dana, depicted a relatively positive exchange between the DREAMers and Trombi.

In any case, as he suggested on Monday, Snow wants to turn over the community relations aspect of his final injunction to the monitoring team, headed by former Rochester Police Chief Robert Warshaw.

In an order issued Thursday, calling for an April 3 meeting, Snow lays out the details of an amendment to his original order, transferring "the responsibility for conducting the Community Outreach Programs set forth in the Injunction from Sheriff Arpaio and the MCSO to the monitor."

And because the MCSO is so stubborn on this point, forcing the monitor to pick up the slack, Snow orders, "the County to pay to the Monitor the increased costs incurred by the Monitor's assumption of these functions, which is in addition to his original duties under the terms of the original injunction."

Snow also finalizes what he discussed on Monday, instructing the MCSO and the ACLU to "draft a corrective summary" that addresses the screw-ups made by Sheridan and Arpaio and summarizes Snow's judgement in Melendres and his permanent injunction.

"After it has been approved by the Court, the Defendants shall distribute it to all MCSO personnel, and direct them to read it in its entirety," Snow states.

The judge gave the parties 14 days to craft this communication.

I believe that once this document is made public, it will prove a very effective tool in shutting up Arpaio and his underlings, whenever they try to evade responsibility for the mess they've caused the MCSO and county taxpayers with their racial-profiling ways.

Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.

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