Somehow I missed the New Yorker profile of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. Amid all the stuff I already knew about sadistic treatment of prisoners (mostly pretrial and therefore innocent in law) and immigration grandstanding there was something I didn’t know, though I suppose I could have guessed. Arpaio makes a habit of using law enforcement authority to harass his critics, for example arresting the two publishers of a newspaper that criticized him after midnight raids on their residences on spurious charges of “violating grand-jury secrecy” and arresting four people who applauded an Arapaio critic at a public hearing for “disorderly conduct.”
Of course a magazine article isn’t evidence. But if the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division isn’t looking into charging Arpaio and his goons for conspiracy to violate civil rights (18 U.S.C. 241*) then someone isn’t doing his job. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior isn’t restricted to buffoons like Arpaio, but he’d be a good place to start.
* The offense consists of conspiring
to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same
Update Sure enough, the FBI seems to be looking in to Arapaio’s abuse of power.