There are few more disreputable or troubling people in law enforcement in America today than Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Since 1992 he has been the sheriff for Arizona’s most populous county, which includes the city of Phoenix. In that time he has made a name for himself as a brutal jailer, with chain gangs, a “Tent City” that forces inmates to live outside in the extreme temperatures of an Arizona summer, and other practices that have repeatedly been found unconstitutional by the courts.
Arpaio is also one of the leading forces in the racist attack on Arizona Latinos and immigrants. His sheriff department is notorious for its racial profiling of Latinos, raiding Latino neighborhoods and making mass arrests in the name of finding “illegals.” Arpaio has been the target of a US Justice Department investigation over these practices. He was a key backer of SB 1070, the notorious anti-immigrant law that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed, which implemented as state law what one Arizona paper called “Arpaio’s reign of terror”.
He didn’t stop there. Arpaio has also been implicated in a massive abuse of power scandal, where he and a county attorney targeted members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, hitting them and judges friendly to the board with bogus racketeering charges.
In short, Arpaio is the closest thing America has to a dictator. He’s more than a modern-day Bull Connor. He aspires to be a modern-day Pinochet.
That’s the man who just endorsed Steve Poizner for governor. And Team Poizner is now bizarrely touting this endorsement, a sign of how desperate they are now that he is 26 points behind in the latest Field Poll. Here’s what Poizner had to say on his site about this shocking endorsement:
“I’m proud to receive the endorsement from Sheriff Arpaio. Being on the frontline of America’s immigration battles, Sheriff Arpaio truly understands the burden that illegal immigration can have on our nation,” said Poizner. “As the only candidate in this race who supports Arizona’s immigration law, voters can trust that as governor, I will cut off taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants and other economic incentives that draw illegal immigrants to California.”
Bob Brigham had the best take on this, saying on Twitter What, was David Duke unavailable?
Poizner is going to lose and lose badly. I’m no fan of Meg Whitman, as you know, but Poizner deserves to be trounced if he is going to embrace racists and people who have no respect for the Constitution or the rule of law like Joe Arpaio.