Rep. Grijalva Calls for Resignation of @RealSheriffJoe: Office Mishandled 400+ Sex Crimes

Today, Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva released a statement calling for the resignation of controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, after reports from the Associated Press revealed that Arpaio, one of the country's most vocal and public defenders of Arizona's draconian SB 1070 immigration, directed a force that mishandled over 400 sex-crimes cases since 2007.

As reported by The Associated Press

[The cases] were among more than 400 sex-crimes reported to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office during a three-year period ending in 2007 — including dozens of alleged child molestations — that were inadequately investigated and in some instances were not worked at all, according to current and former police officers familiar with the cases. In El Mirage alone, where Arpaio’s office was providing contract police services, officials discovered at least 32 reported child molestations — with victims as young as 2 years old — where the sheriff’s office failed to follow through, even though suspects were known in all but six cases. [. . .] 

Arpaio’s office refused several requests over a period of months to answer questions about the investigations and declined a public records request for an internal affairs report, citing potential disciplinary actions. Brian Sands, a top sheriff’s official who is in charge of the potential discipline of any responsible employees, was later made available to talk about the cases. He declined to say why they weren’t investigated. “There are policy violations that have occurred here,” Sands said. “It’s obvious, but I can’t comment on who or what.” 

“This nothing-to-see-here attitude is the worst kind of unaccountable arrogance, and Mr. Arpaio needs to step down before any more damage is done to public confidence in our law enforcement and justice system,” Grijalva said. “The picture emerging – no follow-up, no investigation, no prosecution, no justice and a shield of silence after the fact – is not how we conduct law enforcement in this country. Enforcing laws against violent crime, whatever a victim’s legal status, is mandatory and not something we leave to individual communities as an open question. Selective enforcement undermines respect for our brave legal officers and is rightly not tolerated by the public. 

“Mr. Arpaio might love headline-grabbing crackdowns and theatrical media appearances, but when it comes to the everyday work of keeping people safe, he seems to have lost interest some time ago. He should give the affected families a sense that justice is finally being done by taking the honorable route and resigning now.”

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