Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Top Monitor Pick Howard Safir Once Hit a Pregnant Lady with His Escalade, Thinks Stop-and-Frisk Is Cool

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Seems the responding cops, and later the Manhattan district attorney, decided that no laws had been broken.

But there's more, much more.

The Times says Safir was once "a heralded federal marshal," but that his rep took a beating (pardon the phrase) during his time as commish, due to two cases of police brutality: the 1997, in-custody assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by NYPD cops, who sodomized Louima with a plunger handle, and the 1999 police killing of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from the African nation of Guinea, in a hail of 41 bullets.

More recently, in an editorial for the New York Daily News, Safir blasted federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's attempts to put limitations on the NYPD's use of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy aimed at minority males. He also hailed a recent appeals court decision staying Scheindlin's decision.

"What Scheindlin failed to understand," wrote Safir in his October 31 diatribe, "is that stop-and-frisk is not a policy, it is a tactic that is legal and most often based on the description of victims and reasonable suspicion."

In July, Safir opined, also in the Daily News, against a city bill, which he described as allowing,

"...any convicted criminal to litigate whether his or her `stop and frisk' was lawful would cause police officers to hesitate to engage those they suspect are committing crimes."

In the same piece, Safir wrote of stop-and-frisk that, "Alleged racial profiling has been the clarion call of pandering politicians who want to take this important tool away from the NYPD."

Who better to oversee a program ending the MCSO's use of racial profiling in stops of Latinos in Maricopa County?

Interestingly, Safir's resume starts off with a stint at the now-defunct Federal Bureau of Narcotics, where Arpaio began his federal law enforcement career after being a local cop in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas.

The MCSO's second and third choices are relative nobodies by comparison: Ronald Sanchez of Veritas Assurance Group, and Joseph Wolfinger of Wolfinger and Company.

In his resume, Wolfinger cites his being the FBI guy who cracked the Walker spy ring back in the day as being his life's major achievement.

Which has zip to do with monitoring a police force, but at least he didn't back into a pregnant lady and drive away.

(Note: See update below.)

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