The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Marjorie Valbrun,202-463-8602 x305,

DOJ Suit Shows Sheriff Joe Arpaio Not Above the Law

As AVEF Backgrounder Documents, Arpaio Approach to Law Enforcement is Ineffective and Worthy of Full Investigation


Today news
broke that the U.S. Department of Justice is suing Maricopa County, AZ
Sheriff Joe Arpaio to compel him to turn over documents needed for the
federal government's civil rights investigation. Arpaio has denied
investigators access to this information for a year and a half.

to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America's Voice Education Fund:
"Sheriff Joe Arpaio has operated above the law for too long, with
disastrous consequences for community policing and public safety. It's
unfortunate that the Justice Department has to take this step and force
Arpaio to comply with a federal civil rights investigation, but we
commend the Department for doing so. If Sheriff Arpaio has nothing to
hide, he should have no problem turning over these documents."

As a recent backgrounder on Arpaio makes clear,
Sheriff Arpaio has a long history of disregarding the law and playing
politics with the issue of illegal immigration. The American people and
the citizens of Maricopa County deserve his compliance with an
investigation that proceeds above the political fray and without

America's Voice Education Fund's examination of Sheriff Joe's record shows that his high-profile tactics have resulted in higher crime rates, thousands of lawsuits, millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses, felony warrants going unserved,
and a reversal of the community policing strategies that have proved
successful to police across the nation. As a Pulitzer Prize-winning
investigation by the East Valley Tribunefound,
"Response times, arrest rates, investigations and other routine police
work throughout Maricopa County have suffered over the past two years as
Sheriff Joe Arpaio turned his already short-handed and cash-strapped
department into an immigration enforcement agency." Violent crime is
down across the state of Arizona, but not in Maricopa County under
Sheriff Arpaio. From 2002 to 2009, while the violent crime rate across
the state as a whole decreased by 12 percent, the area policed by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office suffered a 58 percent increase in violent crime.

Arpaio approach to law enforcement is divisive, dangerous, and
un-American. We applaud the Department of Justice for pursuing the
facts and not letting his defiance go unanswered," concluded Tramonte.

America's Voice Education Fund Backgrounder on Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Chart Showing How Crime Rates Under Arpaio Have Increased:

America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.