By NWV Senior Political News Writer, Jim Kouri
The former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio, who was one of America’s most beloved lawmen especially for his innovative policies for not only cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but actually jailing them for crimes committed while roaming that state, is running for Maricopa County Sheriff in the border state of Arizona.
Arpaio, an early endorser of Donald Trump, lost his election on the same day that Trump won his. That defeat was followed by a guilty verdict on contempt-of-court charges, the culmination of a lengthy investigation by the Obama administration into what he claimed were unconstitutional practices by Arpaio and his deputies.
Arpaio was pardoned by Trump in 2017 and last year mounted a run for the U.S. Senate. That faltered badly, thus providing what Michelle Cottle of the New York Times called “a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man.”
Arpaio recently said he intends to again seek the office he held for 24 years, hoping to wrest it from the man who defeated him, Paul Penzone. “I plan on winning,” Arpaio told Yahoo News in a recent phone conversation. “I am going to win.”
That is precisely what some in Arizona fear. “Joe Arpaio’s decision to run for sheriff is a disaster for Republicans,” wrote an Arizona Republic columnist. Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, gave money to Penzone, a Democrat. Flake is also known as a Trump-hating establishment Republican.
None of this deters Arpaio. “There’s a lot of unfinished work to get done,” he said, though it is not clear how Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer, has failed to keep Maricopans safe. Some toughness must be missing. And toughness is what Arpaio always wanted to project, as when he called his Tent City jail a “concentration camp.” It was a point of pride.
Arpaio, at least, is confident he’ll win. “I’m not saying it’s in the bag,” the former sheriff said, speaking with the assurance of a frontrunner, a six-time incumbent, a presidential kingmaker. He knows what people say about him — he makes too many denunciations of the media not to.
“I’m not going back to be vindictive,” Arpaio said. He has punished enemies before. Maybe age has mellowed him. Probably it has not.
Arpaio is now 87 years old, making Trump, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden — average age of nearly 76 — look like young men. And though his voice has grown shaky, it is still full of the same guile and disputation that made him a hero to conservatives, fellow cops and immigration authorities, yet he’s a pariah to the country’s progressives, Democrats, and news media personnel.
“Ever since Eric Holder first became Attorney General [in 2009], after hiding information about his own background during confirmation, he’s been harassing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now Holder is using the DOJ to attack someone he sees as a political threat to President Barack Obama,” said former New York police lieutenant Thomas Bruno.
Bruno referred to the “Cold Case Posse” investigating Obama’s birth records, Selective Service identification, and other records as “a likely motive for the DOJ lawsuit.” Sheriff Arpaio recently stated that he plans to hold a news conference to reveal more information about his investigation into Obama’s eligibility to serve as President and Commander in Chief.
In addition, Arpaio claims he’s been denied access to the evidence that the DOJ prosecutors possess that they say proves he violated the civil rights of illegal aliens
The DOJ’s notice of intent to sue was sent on Thursday by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the director of the civil rights division. According to several sources, Perez has a background in championing left-wing causes including advocating for illegal aliens.
“Today, the Department of Justice did something it has done only once before in the 18-year history of our civil police reform work; we filed a contested lawsuit to stop discriminatory and unconstitutional law enforcement practices,” said Perez.
“People’s concerns are fueled by an unfortunate use of language that compounds rather than describes the problem. Terms like ‘culture of cruelty’ and ‘racist’ are tossed about in headlines and sound bites, while information to support these claims is not offered or communicated through the mainstream media,” Arpaio stated.
“This Justice Department is out of control,” said former police sergeant and intelligence officer Donald McRae. “Basically, they are the Obama Administration’s goon squad and believe in selective prosecution based on politics.”
Arpaio is no stranger to federal law enforcement having served as a federal police official with agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), therefore he’s no stranger to Beltway political culture, McRae noted.
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