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Last night, CNN’s Rick Sanchez called out Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, AZ, for admitting to racial profiling during his “crime suppression sweeps” of Latino neighborhoods.
At the end of the interview, Sheriff Joe basically thumbs his nose at Federal officials who have criticized Arpaio’s sweeps (despite renewing cooperation agreements with him):
SANCHEZ: You’re going to sit there and tell the feds, you don’t care what they say, you’re going to do it your way and you’re going to do it when you want to do it?
ARPAIO: No, they don’t tell me how to do my job enforcing state laws. I worked 25 years as a top Justice Department drug enforcement official. I think I know the federal law and how to operate under the federal blanket. So…
SANCHEZ: All right. Well, for the record, they’re saying you don’t and they’re saying you’re violating it.
ARPAIO: Then come on after me, if he thinks I’m violating any of — federal laws.
Sanchez gets it right when he says that not since Bull Connor has a confrontation between a local Sheriff and the federal government come to such a standoff. So, is it 2009 or 1963, when Bull Connor’s aggressive police tactics against blacks in the South sparked civil rights legislation?
Here is Arpaio’s interpretation of the law– straight from the previous interview with Rick Sanchez shown above. Arpaio is arresting people because of “the clothes they wear, their speech”:
SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question. How do you know when you arrest someone that they’re illegal?
ARPAIO: Well, first of all, Rick, we do it pursuant to our duties. When we come across someone on another crime and we find out that they are illegal, we take action. If those that have not committed a crime, we had the training — we still do — we turn them over to ICE. It’s very simple.
SANCHEZ: But you just said you detain people who haven’t committed a crime. How do you prove that they’re not legal?
ARPAIO: It has to do with their conduct, what type of clothes they’re wearing, their speech. They admit it. They may have phony I.D.s, a lot of variables involved.