CBA demands accountability of Arpaio in the latest video by Dennis Gilman
A point some local journos missed concerning the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors' recent hearing on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's various misdeeds was that the special meeting, which addressed Arpaio's racial profiling and his bungling of the more than 400 sex crimes cases, would not have taken place save for the efforts of Citizens for a Better Arizona.
CBA, the same group that successfully forced a recall of former state Senate President Russell Pearce, eventually walked out of the meeting, charging that board chair Max Wilson had abrogated an agreement that would have allowed them to question County Attorney Bill Montgomery and MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan.
That walkout, led by CBA leaders Chad Snow and Randy Parraz, is documented in the above video from Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman.
After denouncing the supervisors, they and their supporters marched over to the U.S. Attorney's Office to deliver a letter from Snow, asking, "What is the threshold for injustice at which point the United States Department of Justice will take action?"
The letter, which you can read, here, outlines some of the abuses of power by the Arpaio regime. An excerpt follows:
In the last year, further revelations have surfaced of years of severe fiscal mismanagement which Mr. Arpaio's own Chief Financial Officer Loretta Barkel has characterized as "criminal". Over $100,000,000 has been illegally misappropriated by Mr. Arpaio, some of which was used to fund the very abuses of power and civil rights mentioned above.
A recent Department of Justice investigation on issues of racial profiling found a "chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations" at MCSO. The findings of that investigation were that "MCSO command staff and deputies have engaged in a pattern or practice of retaliating against individuals for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech."
A recent memorandum written by one of Mr. Arpaio's own deputy chiefs, Frank Munnell, stated his opinion that Arpaio and members of his command staff have ""willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts by attempting to obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, and destroy evidence."
As you are well aware, Title 18 of the United States Criminal Code, Sections 241-242 makes it a crime for anyone "under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to willfully subject any person in any state to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States."
Snow also penned a stinging letter of rebuke to Wilson for his failure to adhere to the agreed meeting format. Check this excerpt from that letter, which you can read in full, here:
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What we witnessed was nothing more than a pep rally for Sheriff Arpaio. Allowing Mr. Sheridan and Mr. Montgomery to tout Arpaio's praises unchallenged for two and a half hours, then allowing us 2 minutes at the end without any opportunity for real conversation, exposed this meeting as nothing more than a sham to cover your political backside. The softball questions you posed to the presenters, the fact you gave one day's notice of the agenda, and the fact that over 100 people were shut out of the meeting with no accommodation made for overflow, underscore our belief that you had no real intention of having a "hearing" on the very serious issues which were on the agenda.
The shenanigans excoriated by Snow are de rigueur for the political establishment in Maricopa County. A combination of fear and political calculation holds sway over many of our local officials.
Will there ever come a time when the board's inaction on Arpaio's abuses -- which, ironically, include his targeting of board members for political retaliation -- will be judged harshly by the public at large?
Wilson and his cronies on the board are betting the answer to that question is "no." They may one day regret that cynical gamble.