Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., was handed an ultimatum on Thursday: Clean up his department's rampant and illegal racial discrimination or the federal government will see him in court. After a three-year investigation, the U.S. Justice Department accused the controversial immigrant-hunting sheriff of illegally jailing scores of Hispanic residents, often after trumped-up traffic stops; abusing Spanish-speaking inmates and denying them basic rights; and retaliating against critics. Arpaio shot back that the Obama administration was just using him as a "whipping boy," and supporter Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) darkly warned, "I would suggest to you that these people are out after Sheriff Joe." Do Arpaio's fans have a case, or is self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" really just "America's Most Racist Sheriff"?
Racism is just the tip of the iceberg: The DOJ's damning report confirms what we already suspected, says Lucy Steigerwald in Reason: Sheriff Joe is an "awful person" whose brutal tactics indiscriminately target Latinos, including U.S citizens. And while he excels at violating Latinos' "civil rights and the Constitution," Arpaio is "really awful at following up on serious criminal complaints," like 400 sex-abuse reports, mostly involving Latino victims. "Schadenfreude should reign throughout the land" at this racist jerk getting busted.
"The Department of Justice is very unhappy with Joe Arpaio"
Obama is out for Arpaio's head: There are some "serious" concerns raised in the report, and those "should be looked into," says 24Ahead.com. But even after a "politically motivated quasi-witchhunt," Team Obama unearthed "no smoking gun in the entire report against Arpaio himself." The feds are going after Sheriff Joe because he is "interfering with attempts by crooked businesses to make money [off illegal immigrants] and with corrupt politicians' attempts to obtain race-based power."
"DOJ investigation claims Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in 'unconstitutional policing'"
Racist or not, he'll be sheriff for awhile: Arpaio's sheriff's office, as detailed by the DOJ, really is "appalling. It's disgusting. It's infuriating," says E.J. Motini in The Arizona Republic. But this is hardly the first time "we've heard tough talk about Arpaio from federal officials." Nothing ever comes of it, and it's unlikely the Obama administration will bring much change to Sheriff Joe's bailiwick, either. After all, for 20 years "he's gotten re-elected for doing pretty much what Justice officials say he shouldn't be doing."
"Despite all the tough talk, Joe Arpaio is still sheriff"