The Sheriff Joe Bill of Rights

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, when asked about a recent DOJ report alleging that he has essentially institutionalized mass civil rights violations, says that he is the real victim . . . and the perpetrators are protesters.

“We don’t go after anybody. Actually, they go after me. They’re demonstrating in front of my building, calling me every kind of name. If you want to talk about civil-rights violations, what about that?”

Adam Serwer suggests this bizarre understanding of the law might explain why Arpaio has been known wage criminal investigations against the people who criticize him. More likely: Arpaio is shamelessly posturing.

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

25 Responses to “The Sheriff Joe Bill of Rights”

  1. #1 |  nigmalg | 

    “I have a right not to be redressed!”

  2. #2 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    The guy is a malignant narcissist, much like Saddam Hussein. Can’t we call in the troops, now that they’ve come home?

  3. #3 |  George in AZ | 

    The guy is just delusional, simply stated. And he’s supported by populists that only know that something needs to be done about the illegals. They have remained oblivious to what Arpaio has actually done about crime, i.e., not much. They’re content to believe his showmanship. I do have hopes that his mis-handling of sex crimes will cost him re-election next time.

  4. #4 |  Z | 

    I don’t believe that criticism is a civil rights violation yet but we do live in a very sensitive society.

  5. #5 |  CyniCAl | 

    Power is a self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing feedback loop. Once one acquires power, there is no retreating.

    I think Arpaio would be very at home in Thailand, where lese majeste laws are all the rage. Perhaps Arizona could be a test case for just such a law in Amerika.

  6. #6 |  Jeff | 

    From the militarization of law enforcement files:

    I understand this was a tense standoff after one officer had already been killed and another had been shot and wounded, but check out the picture. Full combat fatigues and body armor, combat boots, the works.

    There’s another image on the front page of the PG website that shows the same thing. When I first saw it, I honestly thought it was a story about local soldiers coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan. Here’s the url for for the image since I don’t know how much longer it’ll be up on the main page:

    A little unsettling.

  7. #7 |  Ariel | 

    I live in Maricopa County, and I am amazed at the selective amnesia regarding Sheriff Joe. We’ve had lawsuits that come close to California in magnitude (by population), we’ve had the obvious attempts by him (blame Henderschott of course) and Thomas to go after political opponents, we’ve had misuse of funds (clerical errors of course), we’ve had so many felony warrants not served that the MCSO is a joke, we’ve had the outlying towns receiving such poor service that they should get their money back (the 400+ sex crimes glossed over are part of this),and now what was known to many of us: that his deputies were detaining anyone brown. Disclaimer: I voted for him three times, slow learner obviously.

    I am not an open borders type, few Arizonans are. He caters to the anti-illegal crowd while performing poorly elsewhere, but that gets him the votes. The Feds (meaning Congress) need to deal with the issue of illegal immigration, and I don’t mean building fences…

    Joe plays to the crowd, from illegal immigration to saving dogs

  8. #8 |  croaker | 

    Kim Jong Il is dead. Can Crazy Joe be the next despot to die, please?

  9. #9 |  FloO | 

    Coming between Joe Arpaio and a TV camera is like stepping between a mother bear and her cub.

    I’d rather live in a place with private security, than a place with a self aggrandizing pig who equates popping out from behind a curtain on his TV show with fighting crime while touting pink underwear and rancid bologna as his answer to crime. And don’t forget about how he uses his office to investigate and ruin people who say things he doesn’t like.

    He looks like he has bad breath and skid-marked underpants, too.

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The cult of personality is strongest in authoritarians.

  11. #11 |  RoMan | 

    Perhaps if the Feds would do their job and enforce the Illegal Immigration laws which are on the books, Arpaio, wouldn’t have an excuse to do the Feds job for them?

    I’m just sayin…

  12. #12 |  B | 

    Please. Arpaio is a megalomaniac. This would be true if there weren’t a single immigrant in Maricopa or if he were the manager of a Radio Shack.

  13. #13 |  Cynic in New York | 

    He’s going for the anti-Federal government angel. Appealing to conservative boot lickers that the evil feds are picking on “Good and Just Christian” local officials because his thuggery isnt as discrete as federal thuggery.

  14. #14 |  Goober | 

    I understand this was a tense standoff after one officer had already been killed and another had been shot and wounded, but check out the picture. Full combat fatigues and body armor, combat boots, the works.


    I understand your discomfort with the situation, and especially with the very military appearance of the officers, but as I’ve said many times before, and also as I think Mr. Balko has said – SWAT teams exist for a reason, and there ARE situations where a military-like SWAT style response are warranted. An armed man who has already killed one police officer and wounded another who has holed himself up in his home is a perfect – absolutely perfect – example of why SWAT teams exist and likewise is a perfect example of a good use of them. I don’t expect police officers to go after a guy who has shown that he is willing to kill a caop with anything less than full body armor and whatever weapons they feel that they can safely use. i certainly would not do so, and so I don’t expect them to.

    The problem is that because they have these teams and this gear, they want to use them more often than is warranted. Instead of waiting for Jose Guerena to drive to work and pulling him over on his way in, they raided his house with his family inside with full weapons and gear and risked lives unecessarily for their own ego and perpetuation of their need for a SWAT team. They flash bang 7 yer old girls to death at the wrong address because they heard a rumor that a guy might have a bit of weed in the house. THAT is the problem. Not this. What you see here is exactly what I, or any other person with a modicum of self-preservation desire, would do when going up against an armed man who is dangerous as hell.

    Don’t get so hung up on the bad things police do daily that you can’t give credit when its due when they manage to not screw something up.

  15. #15 |  Stray | 

    The fact remains that we have consistently voted Sheriff Joe in for nearly 20 years. The only people who don’t like him are Hispanics and the liberal Californians who have moved here uninvited. But that’s a whole ‘nother story isn’t it?

  16. #16 |  Ariel | 

    B. #12,

    His meglomania has gravity because of the illegal immigration issues in AZ. It is why he puts so much import, time, and money into it while not serving warrants or following up on sex-crimes. Neither carry the weight that the illegal-immigrant issue does, primarily because the Sheriff is seen as doing something while the Feds aren’t. It’s a hot button issue he so likes to push.

    Granted, he didn’t want any of the issues where his leadership is incompetent to come to the public’s attention, but it’s always someone else who is at fault. Henderschott, Thomas, the Isolated Incident ghost (like Keane’s “Not Me” or “I Don’t Know”), doesn’t matter. And Sheriff Joe’s blind, loyal followers just eat it up. They can’t see that with all these issues in his department, he is either corrupt or incompetent, there’s no middle ground and it isn’t caused by outsiders. Well, except those protesters that are denying Joe’s civil rights…

  17. #17 |  Ariel | 

    #15 Stray,

    My wife is native, unmistakeably white, and Republican. Knew Goldwater, the Fannins, O’Connor, and many more in the AZ Republican pantheon. She can’t stand Arpaio, and she like me, voted for him originally. I’m white, but have been mistaken for NA by skin color and bone structure (my grandfather qualified as NA, my mother perhaps, just in case you have a thing about skin), have lived officially in Arizona since 1970, and registered Republican in 1972. So we aren’t Hispanic nor liberal Californians.

    And as much as I deplore Californians, given their impact in Prescott, Sedona, and the Rim, they don’t need an invite to move here, something about the Constitution of both AZ and the USA.

    He has you, like too many Maricopans, suckered. After Henderschott, Thomas, et al, he is either incompetent or corrupt. There is no middle ground. Give the Republican Stauffer, now Independent, candidate out of Scottsdale a chance.

  18. #18 |  Jeremy | 


    Even Arpaio’s anti-illegal stance is phony and hypocritical considering he endorsed an open-borders guy like Rick Perry.


    Actually, libertarians and people of all political stripes who denounce his Big Government drug-warring and contempt for due process don’t like him, either. Nice try, though.

  19. #19 |  Stray | 

    Jeremy and Ariel, How does he keep getting elected then? We’d have thrown him out 4 votes ago if was that bad. As for Californians, I lived there a lot of years for work. Owned a house on the beach in San Diego when I was 22 (boy, I wish THOSE days were back). But I quit my job and came back to AZ when the nanny state garbage started hitting full stride.

    As for Constitutions, I remember all to well when Californians called us shit-for-brains hillbilly redneck Zonies and mocked us at every turn. I got in a number of fights when I went back over there, with AZ license plates, to visit family and was told to get my ass back to AZ and had rocks thrown at my car (hence the fights).

    Then Californians found out how cheap it was to live here and how nice it was and couldn’t get here fast enough. First they screwed up their state and now they’re here screwing up ours. AZ has always been a conservative Republican state and after living in Cal I prefer it here!

    As for Sheriff Joe and Hispanics, in particular, in 1985 I used to drive the average 10 or 15 miles to work and would pass maybe 3 cars of, presumably, Mexicans on their way to work. I thought that was a major problem then. Now every cay at every intersection is hispanic. I could list the reasons for my distaste of hispanics, but it would fill 2 novels. The short version is gangs, drugs, graffiti, drive-bys, muggings, burglaries, heinous crimes (chopping peoples heads off), a beer-swilling horde on the front lawn at 2AM with the crappy ranchero music cranked up on their crappier car stereos while they whistle, hoot and holler, etc., ad nauseum.

  20. #20 |  Jeremy | 

    Stray, I notice you didn’t directly respond to anyone I wrote, particularly when I pointed out that Arpaio is a jackbooted statist himself. You’re against the California nanny-statism yet you’re fine with the MCSP’s statism.

    It’s also no surprise that you’re a semi-literate, racist piece of crap.

  21. #21 |  Jeremy | 


  22. #22 |  Jeremy | 

    And given how a fascist racist slug like yourself hates Hispanics so much, I’m puzzled as to why you’re not attacking Sheriff Joe for not purging Maricopa County of them (especially since you helped elect him out of anti-Mexican racism in the first place).

  23. #23 |  JOR | 

    “The fact remains that we have consistently voted Sheriff Joe in for nearly 20 years.”

    I don’t think that proves what you think it proves.

  24. #24 |  Stray | 

    You know Jeremy, Penn and Teller did an episode of their TV show “Bullshit” on illegal immigration and racism. In it Penn said something that totally applies to me, “Just because you brought your sorry third-world ass to my country doesn’t mean I have to like you!” That pretty much sums me up. If you haven’t lived in my shoes, then blow it out your ass.

  25. #25 |  BamBam | 

    Arizona Sheriff’s Officers Turn in Federal Credentials