Joe Arpaio's Sweep Plan Unsealed by Court, No "Exigent Circumstances" Offered
Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow unsealed the operations plan for Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "crime suppression" sweep, which took place this weekend in the West Valley.
Significantly, the document, which was filed last Thursday under seal by Arpaio's attorney Tim Casey, does not identify any "exigent circumstances" as mentioned in Snow's final order in the ACLU civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio.
Snow's permanent injunction, issued on October 2, gave the sheriff's office a 59-page list of detailed requirements, meant to haul Arpaio's office into the era of modern policing, and away from its recent history as a practitioner of biased law enforcement.
An independent monitor was ordered by Snow to help bring the MCSO to heel. Once that monitor is hired, likely sometime in December, he or she must be given an advance copy of the MCSO's plans for any operation involving more than 10 deputies.
The MCSO also must present the monitor with a "standard template" for such operations plans within 90 days of the issuance of Snow's order.
While the MCSO awaits the appointment of its babysitter, the agency is allowed to perform a "significant operation" (aka, a "sweep"), but only if there are "exigent circumstances," basically an emergency of some sort that threatens life and limb.
The unsealed ops plan does mention the August murder of MCSO detention officer Jorge Vargas in the vicinity of the sweep. However, it also notes that in September the Phoenix Police Department arrested a suspect in that shooting.
"The objective of this enforcement operation," reads the MCSO's lead memo, "is to enforce state criminal and traffic laws to reduce violence, gang activity, and other crime in the area."
Another memo states that the sweep is meant as a response to Vargas' death, and to make the point that lawbreakers "will not be allowed to operate with impunity."
So, where is the exigent circumstance, the life-threatening emergency that must be addressed?
The MCSO's plan of action does not say.
The document does mention the term "exigent circumstances," but in an odd way.