Link to recording of today’s call: http://ndlon.org/docs/2011arpaio.mp3
Phoenix, AZ- Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice released a scathing report, confirming the “discriminatory policing practices” that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used to terrorize the Latino community of Maricopa County for years and prompting the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Sheriff’s 287(g) agreement and restrict his access to the controversial S-Comm program,
On a press call today, national and local leaders reacted to the reports findings, commending the investigation as a step towards serving the Latino community with the justice they so long deserve.
DOJ’s announcement is no surprise to the Latino community. Arpaio has a long history of extreme enforcement tactics and discriminatory behavior. Mary Rose Wilcox, Maricopa County Supervisor, saw firsthand the type of suffering in the Latino community inflicted by Arpaio’s abusive practices. “A line in the report that stands out above others is that for the past four years, the Sheriff’s department has treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented. It is a sobering statement that shows how the Sheriff used anti-immigrant sentiment as a pretext to violate the civil rights of our County’s residents. For three years our community has pounded the doors of elected officials to let them know this must stop. My dream is for Sheriff Arpaio to resign or be kicked out of office and for his office to be taken into receivership. Still, we feel relief today because the truth has been told about this Sheriff in a manner that cannot be denied.”
Speakers also lifted up Arpaio’s case as an example of the disastrous consequences of DHS policies that trample on the rights of entire communities.
Salvador Reza, Phoenix Civil Rights Leader whose wrongful arrest was cited in the DOJ report, explained, “We are happy to see Janet Napolitano’s actions yesterday but I’d like to caution that it’s not over. The longer Arpaio is not under receivership or indicted, the longer this will continue as a political football locally and nationally. This should be a wakeup call to DHS and for Sheriffs across the country who are using federal immigration programs to emulate Arpaio.”
Randy Parraz, Co-Founder, President of Citizens for a Better Arizona, added, “Yesterday’s report by the DOJ validates many of the abusive practices and policies that we have been experiencing as Latinos and critics of Sheriff Arpaio. We, Citizens for a Better Arizona, will continue to organize across the county to create the pressure needed to force Sheriff Arpaio to resign.”
According to Arturo Venegas, Director of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, “Every day that Arpaio focused on terrorizing immigrant and Latino communities while serious criminals roamed the streets of Maricopa County made other law enforcement officials’ jobs harder across the nation. The Department of Homeland Security should be commended for limiting its cooperation with Arpaio, but until the racial profiling and aggressive tactics he championed are no longer encouraged by state laws like Alabama’s or tacitly condoned by federal programs like Se Communities, we have not yet eradicated his legacy of fear. Unfortunately, Arpaio has flaunted his unconstitutional tactics with such vigor that, nothing short of a federal consent decree will get him to comply DOJ requests and change his behavior.”
According to Sarahi Uribe, National Campaign Coordinator, National Day Laborer’s Organizing Network, “The DOJ report is what compelled the Department of Homeland Security to do what it should have done on former Arizona Governor Napolitano’s first day on the job as head of DHS. It stripped him of his badge when it comes to immigration enforcement. Now we should learn the lessons from Arizona and deal not just with this Sheriff but with the implications of this report on a national level.”
Today the Department of Justice concluded its three year investigation into civil rights violations in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the detailed report, Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following response:
“The Department of Justice report formally and forcefully describes a civil and human rights crisis in Maricopa County; one that has moved hundreds of thousands to demonstrate around the globe over the past several years.
It is a ringing indictment of a Sheriff’s office that has ‘treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented’ and the federal immigration contracts that have made such prejudice possible. It is the most detailed chronicle of the failed end result of the federal programs that make monsters out of local law enforcement.
We have waited three years for federal intervention to restore justice in Maricopa County. Now that the Department of Justice has outlined the symptoms, it is time for the Department of Homeland security to terminate its immigration contracts with the Sheriff as a first step toward a .”
The Department of Justice report outlines years of biased policing that created “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations (page 2).”
It goes on to detail that deputies used excessive force against Latinos and built a “wall of distrust between MCSO officers and Maricopa County Latino residents (page 2).”
The report finds, “Since roughly 2007, in the course of establishing its immigration enforcement program, MCSO has implemented practices that treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented (page 6).”
“Sheriff Arpaio has promoted a culture of bias in his organization and clearly communicated to his officers that biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged (page 9).”
The Full Report can be read: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php
- July, 2008: Arpaio Sued Over Racial Profiling
- 2009 Report: Arpaio Law Enforcement Slows as Immigration Enforcement Quickens
- Feb, 2009: Arpaio Creates Outdoor Tent-City Segregated by Immigration Status
- Sept, 2010: Arpaio Uncooperative in DoJ investigation
- July 30, 2010: Arpaio Wrongfully Arrests Local Human Rights Leader
- May, 2011: Groups Call for Resignation
Salvador Reza of the Puente Movement responded to today’s Department of Justice settlement for access to records in Sheriff Arpaio’s office with the following statement.
“Nearly three years after the beginning of their investigation, the Department of Justice should be intervening in Maricopa county not just investigating. The people of Maricopa have been living with a likely criminal at the head of our law enforcement for years and it’s time for relief. The County Sheriff’s Office should be placed under receivership without delay. Anything less than immediate intervention in our human rights crisis makes President Obama and former Governor Napolitano accomplices in the reign of terror- and likely criminal behavior- of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.”
The Department of Homeland Security which empowers Sheriff Arpaio through its ICE Access programs has recently come under fire for the expansion of Arpaio-style policies throughout the country through the “Se Communities” program. The agency has been accused of emulating the lack of transparency and discriminatory practices under investigation in the office of Sheriff Arpaio. As a result, the DHS’ spread of Arpaio-style policies is also coming under investigation by the OIG and is facing a growing call for an end to ICE Access programs that entangle local police in immigration laws. …