what happened to joe arpaio?
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What Happened to Joe Arpaio?
June, 2008, Page 26
While Sheriff Joe’s press releases contend Gutierrez is trying to put officers at risk, Alfredo says it’s just the opposite. “Arpaio intends to provoke a firestorm – he’s looking for a riot,” Gutierrez insists.
That’s what many fear, including the mayors of several Valley cities who have stood up against the sweeps. In fact, on April 4, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey calling for an investigation into whether Sheriff Joe has committed any civil rights violations. “Over the past few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio’s actions have infringed on the civil rights of our residents,” his letter reads. “They have put our residents’ well-being, and the well-being of law enforcement officers, at risk.”
It’s gotten so bad that even a 4-year-old American girl didn’t get any mercy from the sheriff’s office. You probably don’t know about this story unless you watch Spanish news stations, which reported on it while the mainstream press either ignored it or weren’t paying attention.
On March 28 – the night of the annual Cesar Chavez luncheon to celebrate Arizona’s most famous Hispanic son – 4-year-old Aracili Reyes was left in a hot, closed cab of a truck with the window barely open while police held her mother in a squad car nearby. The mother, Maria Aracili Reyes, had been in this country for a number of years working under legal visas, renewing them several times, but the last visa had expired within the past 90 days. She and her little girl were passengers in a car driven by a U.S. citizen of Hispanic descent who had a bench warrant for not appearing on a traffic citation. Deputies allowed the mother to call the little girl’s father, a legal Cuban immigrant, who rushed to the scene and found his daughter crying hysterically.
At 5:05 p.m., Lydia Guzman, director of Respect Respecto, a civil rights group, arrived at the scene and filmed the incident. “I thought this was very ironic,” she says. “Sheriff Joe arrests people for leaving dogs in a car, and here was this 4-year-old American citizen who was not given the same respect. It saddened me. I can’t believe this is what it’s come to.”
It saddens me, too. I just hope that more people speak up to let Sheriff Joe know we’re on to him, and that we’re tired, as Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon puts it, of his “made-for-TV stunts.”
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