Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Arpaio again shows his contempt for victims, public safety

Sen. Steve Gallardo

State Capitol, Phoenix – Sheriff Joe Arpaio is once again demonstrating his contempt for crime victims and the public he is sworn to protect by traveling through Iowa with Texas Gov. Rick Perry instead of addressing the over 400 neglected sex-crime investigations and leadership failures by his office.
Arpaio's decision to spend this week grabbing more of the national spotlight for himself shows his utter disregard for the recent high-profile failures of his office:
  • On December 23rd, Federal Judge Murray Snow set the grounds for a class action lawsuit against Maricopa County with his ruling that the Sheriff’s Office engaged in racial profiling.
  • On December 16th, Gulf War veteran Ernest Atencio was tasered in a Maricopa County jail, left unconscious and not breathing in a cell, and died five days later after being removed from life support.
  • On December 15th, the U.S. Department of Justice accused the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office of unconstitutional policing, discrimination of inmates and a systemic culture of disregard for basic legal rights.
  • A 2008 East Valley Tribune Pulitzer Prize-winning series and a December 4th Associated Press report revealed the failure of the Sheriff’s Office to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crime cases between 2005 and 2007.
  • In October, Arpaio testified in the Andrew Thomas disciplinary hearing that he was unaware of the rampant corruption of his office and immediate subordinates, stating, “I was confused then. I’m confused now.”
“With all of these pending matters, why is Sheriff Arpaio in Iowa campaigning for Gov. Perry when he should be working to meet the Department of Justice’s January 4th deadline? He is risking the loss of millions in federal assistance for the sake of serving his ego and a presidential candidate." said Sen. Gallardo.
"It is easier for Arpaio to continue to pretend that he is the victim of a "sneak attack" by the federal government instead of making true changes in his office that will protect the citizens of Arizona.
"I call on Arpaio to immediately return to his duties and deal with a sheriff's office that is in disarray, or step down and let a law enforcement professional come in and straighten things out."

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