In their usual eloquent fashion, Sheriff Joe’s deputies lashed out at critics Friday. After Thursday’s House hearings on 287(g) agreements, where Sheriff Joe’s human rights abuses where well cataloged, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) does its best to muster up genuine outrage.
While Joe’s henchmen do a spectacularly crappy job of acting indignant, the nation continues to turn an ever more critical eye on their activities. Having done such a dismally poor job of covering up their terrorizing ways, screaming into microphones that they are “not racists!!” is no longer enough to convince us that they aren’t, well, racists.
Instead of standing around trying to look tough for TV cameras, Joe’s posse should have been paying closer attention to the news. At yesterday’s Congressional hearing the very first witness was a U.S. citizen named Julio Cesar Mora who recounted how he and his father were harassed and humiliated by Sheriff’s Joe’s deputies for driving while brown. Or maybe they should take another look at the number of lawsuits filed against Arpaio between 2004 and 2007. 2,700 were filed in Federal and County Courts – 50 times the number in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined. Or they could watch this video of 47-year-old Maria del Carmen Garcia Martinez being released from MCSO custody. Joe’s posse should remember her well; they broke her arm after she exercised her legal rights.
Mesa Police Chief George Gascon told House members that the 287(g) program undermines Latino communities’ trust in police, “Community policing efforts are being derailed where immigrants who fear that the police will help to deport them rely less on the local authorities and instead give thugs control of their neighborhoods,” Alluding to the activities of the MCSO Gascon said, “In some cases, it is setting the police profession back to the 1950s and 60s, when police officers were some times viewed in minority communities as the enemy.”
But it’s not just law enforcement and politicians speaking out against the abuses taking place under the guise of 287(g), groups like the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) have worked hard to expose Sheriff Joe and end racial profiling. When NDLON organized a peaceful march last month calling for an investigation into Joe’s abuses, 5,000 people showed up. When they circulated a petition to the same effect, 40,000 signed on. Maybe Joe’s posse should tell them all to shut up…in the name of the law of course.