Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to think Democratic politicians are using his office's bungling of more than 400 sex crime investigations as a reason to call for his resignation -- not because of his incompetence, but because they don't like his policies on immigration.
He also seems to think other (unidentified) agencies have way worse problems than a pesky several-hundred botched criminal investigations.
Immigration may be part of the reason Congressman Raul Grijalva, and Democratic state representatives Ruben Gallego and Katie Hobbs want the sheriff to call it quits, and other agencies may have some issues, but the fact remains: Arpaio's office bungled more than 400 sex crime investigations!
The unapologetic sheriff held a press conference this afternoon where he intended talk about the arrests of two human smugglers who've been deported a collective 27 times.
That barely happened, though -- instead, America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" basically held what is now his second media briefing about the heat he's been getting ever since the national media caught wind of the investigations Arpaio's boys in beige botched between 2005 and 2007.
See our story on Arpaio's oopsies here.
Arpaio spit out some of his illegal immigration rhetoric before announcing he would be conducting another one of his illegal immigrant roundups some time in the near future. But it was all smoke and mirrors aimed to take attention away from the MCSO's most-recent PR problem -- but Phoenix's Fourth Estate didn't take the bait.
"I knew you were gonna ask me about the sex crimes," Arpaio says.
The sheriff responded to questions about the calls for his resignation, claiming the only people who want him to resign are Democrats who disagree with him on immigration issues.
"There have been some elected officials throughout the years -- just by coincidence they all happen to be Democrats, including the mayor of Phoenix, [County Supervisor] Mary Rose Wilcox, the Justice Department, the president, the Judiciary Committee led by a Democrat, some legislators -- who have constantly been going after me, and there's no doubt it's because of illegal immigration," he says.
The sheriff goes further, saying his critics are using his name -- and the botched investigations -- to garner media attention for themselves.
"[Grijalva] asked for my resignation? Who's this guy? He doesn't have anything to do with Maricopa County, last I heard," Arpaio groans. "He's telling me to resign? He should resign -- he's the one who said to boycott [Arizona]...I'm asking him to resign; keep his nose out of my business."
During the 25-minute presser, the often-rambling sheriff mentioned Penn State's current sex scandal -- and the pedophilia issues within the Catholic Church -- before talking about how other agencies have much worse problems.
"I'm gonna say it again: this is not unique to the sheriff's office because you can talk about four other local agencies -- who I will not identify, but I'm sure you know who they are -- who've had serious other problems just like this in the last 18 months," Arpaio says.
Arpaio may not want to point fingers, but we'll go ahead and assume two of the agencies he's talking about include the Justice Department's flubbed "Fast and Furious" gun-running sting, and the Phoenix Police Department's recent issue with properly tallying kidnapping statistics.
Arpaio maintains that he will not resign, and says his solution to the problem is to hire outside consultants to take a look at what went wrong.
"What I'm going to do is order a national search to get the best person in this country to come here and we're gonna get advice, consultation -- we're gonna find out how we can correct these deficiencies that have occurred in this office," he promises, saying it's his "top priority.
Apparently not a subscriber to a "buck stops here" leadership philosophy, Arpaio says he also plans to take disciplinary action against anyone in his office who may be responsible for the botched investigations. He says he'll announce any such actions next week.
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