So much of the time, Joe Arpaio, with his speech punctuated with dese, dats, and dose, and his defiance of federal authority, sounds more like he's imitating Robert DeNiro's Al Capone in The Untouchables, than acting like a local sheriff.
Now the feds are after Joe for real. If you haven't heard yet, feast your eyes on the letter from the Justice Department to Arpaio dated March 10, informing our corrupt top constable that Eric Holder's DOJ will be looking into his operation, investigating, "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures conducted by the MCSO, and...allegations of national origins discrimination..."
You can read it in full, here
Signing the letter is Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King, whose name alone adds a sort of ironic weight to the correspondence, though I'm not implying she has any real relation to the MLK family, as far as I know.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Still, if there's a tinge of Mississippi Burning to the letter, or Arizona Burning, to be more precise, it's offset by the unusually polite tone of the missive.
"Provided that the MCSO cooperates fully with our investigation," writes King at one point, "if we conclude there are not systemic violations of constitutional or other federal rights, we will notify you that we are closing the investigation. If, on the other hand, we conclude there are such violations, we will inform you of the findings and attempt to work with the MCSO to remedy any such violations."
Sure, I'm glad to see the investigation jump off, but we've been living under the thumb of this egomaniacal brute for too long to be very patient with the bureaucratic politesse. Those in the crosshairs of MCSO's operations need relief from the terror Arpaio's been spreading in immigrant communities. In other words, take a lesson from those feds in Mississippi Burning and kick some ass for a change.
Activist organizations and like minded politicians need to keep the heat on the DOJ to roust Arpaio's operation, and treat it more like something they'd bust under the RICO statute than a law enforcement organization. Only a full housecleaning will get all of the skunks off that rotting barge.