Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conduct in Maricopa County, Arizona, is a national disgrace that should be declared unconstitutional and should be stopped. Jane and Bernie Sanders should be commended for shining a light on Arpaio’s abuses, from racial profiling to neglectful, inhumane treatment of people in his custody. These abuses are un-American and should no longer be allowed in our society.
Jane Sanders visited Arpaio’s “Tent City” jail on Monday to shine a light on the inhumane conditions those in custody live under, including many undocumented families. Sheriff Arpaio wanted to meet with Ms. Sanders and she agreed, pressing “America’s Toughest Sheriff” about racial profiling and the harsh conditions forced upon inmates in the “Tent City” where temperatures can get as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bernie Sanders spoke about Sheriff Arpaio in a campaign speech following the encounter with his wife Jane, calling his behavior “unconscionable” and stating, among other things:
“Why don’t you pick on people who have the power to fight back?”
“She asked him about racial profiling, and he didn’t have an answer,” Sanders said. “She asked him about conditions in Tent City and other abuses that he has perpetuated, and he didn’t have an answer. You know what, he cannot have an answer, because what he is doing is un-American and uncivilized.”
“It’s easy for bullies like Sheriff Arpaio to pick on people who have no power, but if I’m elected president, the president of the United States does have the power,” he then added later. “Watch out, Joe!”.
Sheriff Arpaio’s actions have cost local taxpayers more than $140 million in legal fees as he has been found guilty of racial profiling and his jails have been declared unconstitutional. Further, he has been accused of a wide range of offenses, including, but not limited to: abuse of power, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and misuse of funds.
Sheriff Arpaio is a relic from a bygone era, clearly on the wrong side of history, akin to Bull Connor who directed fire hoses and attack dogs on civil rights advocates in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, Sheriff Arpaio has endorsed Donald Trump for president. If the GOP front-runner wants to seriously pivot to a general election audience, he could start with denouncing the brutal tactics of Sheriff Arpaio. If the citizens of Maricopa County are unable to reign in a sheriff that is violating our constitution and basic human rights, then the federal government should step in and enforce the rights guaranteed to all of us under the United States Constitution.