It will come as a shock that Maricopa County Sheriff, Crazy Joe Arpaio, has not seen the light when it comes to profiling people on the basis of race. It might have something to do with the fact that he keeps getting re-elected because they agree with his views that everyone with darkish skin or an accent is presumptively an illegal, a criminal, and stealing their jerbs, and deserves to be hassled, if not arrested.
This didn’t sit well with U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow, who retains jurisdiction following a 2007 suit against Arpaio’s office for racial profiling:
A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday ordered a controversial Arizona sheriff to undergo the same training as his deputies to prevent racial profiling and unlawful detention in the wake of the lawman’s recent comments.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow criticized sheriff Joe Arpaio during a hearing in Phoenix for telling a reporter he would have no problem conducting an immigration sweep like one performed in the town of Guadalupe in 2008, which was later declared unconstitutional.
The judge ruled in May 2013 that Arpaio, who bills himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” violated the rights of Latino drivers with his crackdown on illegal immigration and ordered him to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions.
In response, Arpaio asserted his First Amendment right to express his views, a nonsensical defense as he was speaking as Sheriff Joe, and that even if he still hated illegals as much as ever, it wasn’t what he said that mattered.
“Good faith exists in the deed, not the spoken word,” [Arpaio lawyer Tim Casey] told the court.
This sounds nice, but, again unsurprisingly, the deed sucked as much as the word in Maricopa.
The judge also criticized the office’s handling of an investigation into allegations that a deputy who committed suicide was shaking down illegal immigrants and that others may have been involved.
Ramon “Charley” Armendariz, who testified at the racial profiling trial, was found with numerous videotapes of traffic stops and personal information of drivers with Hispanic surnames at his home. Included were license plates, credit cards and identification cards.
A monitor appointed by the court to watch Arpaio’s operations said on Tuesday the investigation by sheriff’s officials was sorely lacking.
The judge ordered Arpaio to undergo the same training that has been imposed on his deputies. The purpose of the training is to help the officers to understand the wrongfulness of racial profiling. And that will do the trick.
Crazy Joe Arpaio is 82 years old. He’s been sheriff of Maricopa County since 1993. He’s enjoyed remarkable fame for some of his bizarre ideas, such as warehousing prisoners in a tent city concentration camp, where they’re only fed twice a day, and making them wear pink boxers. He’s a media darling because of his bizarre conduct and perennial quotability for saying monumentally idiotic things. And he has been continually re-elected to County Sheriff as a result.
And sensitivity training is going to change all that?
There is a maxim that the law cannot provide a remedy for every wrong man can conceive. While mostly applied in legal philosophy, the realist perspective is that we just can’t make people do as they should when they don’t want to. Arpaio doesn’t want to. And aside from Judge Snow, he doesn’t need to, as the voters seem to love the guy just as he is.
But when we speak to a person, like Crazy Joe, who is in a position to run his posse through Phoenix rounding up Latinos for kicks, and who has demonstrated utter disdain for the feds’ efforts to get him to be more constitutional-ish when doing so, the silliness of the remedy becomes obvious.
The worst that will happen to Crazy Joe is that he will be forced to sit through a training session, where he will chuckle and make silly faces when the facilitator tells the participants to close their eyes and picture themselves in a beautiful Latina valley with rainbows and unicorns. Afterward, he will emerge to TV cameras and say something that will fit perfectly into a ten second sound bite that ridicules the absurdity of the training.
And then Crazy Joe will go back to work, rounding up Latinos because, as his supporters explain, they deserve it. Not only is Judge Snow limited by the absence of any meaningful remedy (Arpaio hasn’t been bad enough to be removed from office, as if that would stop his re-election), but the expectation that if only people would be taught to be fair, and kind, and thoughtful, and unbiased toward people of color, they would be, because these are all good things to be.
This reveals the fact that those who believe that we can enlighten bigots like Arpaio with a training session capped by a rousing chorus of Kumbaya are just as silly and myopic as are his supporters. The only difference is that Crazy Joe keeps getting re-elected as Sheriff, while those who think he can be retrained aren’t.
There are some things training can do to people of good faith, with the will and desire to do better. But a judge can order Crazy Joe to sit through a thousand hours of indoctrination into the world of racially blind law enforcement, and he will walk out with the same sensitivity as when he walked in. After all somebody has to get those illegals, and that would be Crazy Joe.
H/T Mike Paar