Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has J. Edgar Hoover’s morals without his competence. The fact that he is still putting people in prison rather than serving time in prison reflects the failure of federal and state law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.
Not only has Arpaio made a practice of violating defendant’s rights – at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to Maricopa County taxpayers – he has blatantly used his law enforcement powers to protect himself from political opposition, including arrests of people who spoke against him at a public hearing and a raid on the home of a newspaper publisher who published a critical article. But his frank sadism and racism are just catnip to the right wing, including Gov. Jan Brewer: somehow, Tea Party objections to governmental excess never quite seem to stretch to law enforcement, unless it involves enforcing the gun laws.
Now a Deputy Chief of the Sheriff’s Office has blown the whistle, hard, writing of the political corruption unit, run by Arpaio’s Chief Deputy, “It has been the pattern and practice of this unit to conduct politically motivated investigations.” Arpaio has decided to have one of his political allies, the sheriff of a neighboring county, investigate the charges. The memo, written to Arpaio by one of his subordinates, naturally makes no charge aimed at The Man himself: no the King has been led astray by evil counselors. But we all know a fish rots from the head.