For all intensive purposes, in case this story doesn’t make it clear — Joe Arpaio is a monster. In his 24 year reign as Sherriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, he committed so many unlawful atrocities that the Department of Justice filed a formal legal complaint against him in 2011 for the widespread violation and lawless mistreatment of Latinx people.
While he was unsurprisingly granted a pardon by President Trump, the pain he’s inflicted has not been forgotten. Now he poses an even bigger threat — he’s running for senator of Arizona to support the agenda and policies of the president. Other than the fact that he doesn’t have any political experience or a college degree, he’s also committed deeply inhumane acts under his rule.
Here are just a few of the reasons why Arpaio belongs in a jail cell, not in a Senate seat.
1 He detained people for “looking” Latinx
During his raids, his SWAT team took every Latinx person present, whether they were listed on the warrant or not. Arpaio’s traffic patrols also targeted Latinx people, a Maricopa County officer assaulted a Latina pregnant woman unlawfully, and stalked Latina women unlawfully.
2 He made pregnant inmates give birth in shackles
In 2008, Alma Chacón, who was arrested and detained in Maricopa County, was forced to give birth in a hospital with her hands and feet shackled. Under his term as Sherriff, office policy stated that jail inmates be restrained for “security reasons in an unsecured facility.”
Pregnant prison inmates were treated better in Maricopa County jails, where the Arizona Department of Corrections policies state: “A pregnant woman will not be restrained in any manner while in labor while giving birth, or during the postpartum recovery period.”
3 His team framed an innocent person for an assassination plot created for publicity
In 1999, Arpaio’s staff faked an entire assassination plot for a publicity stunt. James Saville was 18 years old when he was wrongfully arrested by undercover sheriff deputies and charged with plotting to kill Arpaio with a bomb. His arrest guaranteed Arpaio being front page of the county’s daily newspaper and a secured spot on the evening news.
However, in 2003, four years after his highly publicized arrest, a Maricopa County Superior Court jury ruled that Arpaio’s detectives had framed Saville. When the Saville family sued Arpaio for wrongful arrest, taxpayers spent $1,102,428 to settle the sheriff’s suit.
4 His SWAT team raided a home and burned it (and the family’s dog alive)
Joe Arpaio sent a SWAT team to shoot up a man’s house with tear gas canisters, setting the house ablaze and burning the owner’s pit bull puppy alive.
Two things that are even more fucked up than burning a harmless puppy alive?
A) The SWAT team was trying to target Eric Kush, a man wanted on a misdemeanor warrant for failing to appear in Municipal Court on traffic citations.
B) They got the wrong house.
5 He placed webcams in the women’s prison
In 2000, there existed a site called crime.com, in which any visitor could see the inner workings of Maricopa County Jail 24 hours a day. A four camera model was installed for about $2,000 and provided uncensored views: two inside the main booking entrance, one at the search cell and one at the holding cell area. Arpaio said he installed webcams as a deterrent because he figured that if a person could see what a holding cell looked like, they’d never want to end up in one.
Z jail cam also showed female inmates using a toilet inside the holding cell area, which was turned off after complaints from inmate rights groups and the state attorney general.
6He’s forced Latinx female prisoners to sleep in their own menstrual blood
In his jails, Latinx female prisoners have been denied basic sanitary items and were forced to remain with their sheets and pants soiled because Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office didn’t provide them with state-ordered hygiene products.
7He’s ignored over 400 sex crime cases, with victims as young as two years old
Between 2005-2007, there were more than 400 sex crimes reported to the Maricopa County Sheriff, including dozens of alleged child molestations. Some of these weren’t investigated entirely and some weren’t investigated at all. In El Mirage alone, officers found at least 32 reported child molestations, with victims as young as two years old, where the sheriff’s office failed to follow through.
8He’s arrested two executives from Village Voice media for covering him
In 2007, Michael Lacy, executive editor, and Jim Larkin, chief executive, were arrested after writing a story that resulted in the Village Voice Media company, its executives, its reporters and even readers had been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor. The prosecutor didn’t have a warrant but told them they were being arrested for unlawful disclosure of grand jury information.
The report knowingly published grand jury proceedings about an ongoing case (which could be viewed as illegal, as they are private documents), but it was to support the belief that there was civil disobedience involved in the courts.
9 He operated a seven-acre outdoor jail he smugly referred to as a concentration camp
In 1993, Arpaio constructed this monstrosity which he called “Tent City” which was supposed to serve as a compound to relieve inmate overcrowding but received international attention for the cruel conditions those who were imprisoned there suffered. Prisoners were forced to work and live in 115-120 degree temperatures. They had no cold water and limited food options.
While responding to a question in 2008 about using concentration camps to hold undocumented immigrants he responded with a smirk:
“I already have a concentration camp,” he said. “It’s called Tent City.”