Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona is a dedicated if misunderstood public servant. The controversial 80-year-old lawman who's running for a sixth term just announced his "posse" (as in "head 'em off at the pass!") investigated President Barack Obama's birth certificate determined...drum roll please...it's a forgery.
How exactly Arpaio's jurisdiction extends as far as Hawaii the sheriff doesn't say. But It must have been quite a sight what with the sheriff's posse elbowing their way past Donald Trump's own birther posse in the Honolulu city records department.
Of course the liberal mainstream media mostly disregarded Arpaio's breathless announcement proving to the tin foil hat crowd that, once again, when it comes to important far right wing jihads, the MSM is "protecting" the president.
Arpaio made other, more relevant news last week after his civil class action trial began in Phoenix where the the American Civil Liberties Union and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund are charging that his officers have based traffic stops on the race of Latinos even when there was no probable cause to stop them. Profiling in other words. The case began after Arpaio's deputies detained a Mexican tourist with a valid passport for nine hours.
This suit is is in addition to the one the Justice Department filed in May charging Arpaio with civil rights violations, which could explain Sheriff Joe's sudden interest in Obama's place of birth.
The problems immigration present require finesse, sensitivity and reason. But when your only tool is a hammer, as in Arpaio's case, everything looks like a nail. Thus, advocacy groups agree Arpaio has ignored Constitutional guarantees in favor of expediency. His notorious tent city jail in Phoenix, which Arpaio proudly calls his "concentration camp," comes to mind.
There's also the unmistakable stench of racism swirling around the sheriff's ham handed tactics. After receiving a letter from a citizen inviting Arpaio to "come over...and round up" men with "dark skin" who have "the look of the Mexican illegals that are here illegally," the area in question was targeted for immigration dragnets. The sheriff himself has said, "go after illegals, not the crime first."
Whether or not either of the law suits endangers Arpaio's re-election remains to be seen, but there is little doubt among advocates that Joe Arpaio is gunning for Latinos and not any blond haired, blue eyed Danes who may be in Maricopa County illegally.
"He's created a whole kind of institutional structure around racial profiling," says Juanita Molina of the Border Action Network director. "It's like the old spaghetti westerns where you've got people in the black hats and the white hats, and there's nothing in between."