Joe Arpaio's Hate Campaign Against the Undocumented Persists Despite New Rules
"I thought it was clearly appropriate," he said. "During this entire thing, there were hidden e-mails and things like this, and Judge Snow said, 'Lookit, I'm not just going to take your word here. I'm going to have a verification mechanism in place.'"
Ex-County Attorney Rick Romley calls Judge Snow's order "appropriate."
Indeed, there will be a detailed record of all traffic stops by MCSO deputies, even when there is no citation or arrest. Ultimately, the MCSO will have to institute an "E-ticket" system, in which all those stopped are given a receipt showing the reason for the stop.
And Snow, having endured the MCSO's destruction of evidence in Melendres and the agency's defiance of his first order from 2011, is instituting mechanisms to make certain of the accuracy of the data provided by the MCSO.
For instance, over the strident objections of Casey, Snow is requiring that all deputies call in the reason for a stop to MCSO dispatch before pulling over anybody.
Not only will that reinforce a deputy's honesty, it will assist with the Early Identification System that the MCSO must have in place, per Snow's dictate. The EIS will consist, in part, of a database that tracks the behavior of deputies -- and spots unconstitutional behavior before it occurs.
Perhaps four or five years hence, we'll see a difference in the MCSO. A 2009 Harvard study of the LAPD's then nine year-old consent decree found that incidents involving serious use of force by a police officer were down by 15 percent.
The study reported that 83 percent of Los Angeles residents rated the LAPD as doing a good or excellent job. And, according to the study's authors, "a majority of every racial and ethnic group" reported that "LAPD officers treat them, their friends, and [families] with respect."
But that was nine years after the LAPD entered into the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice. Also, beginning in 2002, the LAPD had a forward-thinking police chief, William Bratton, who embraced the consent decree.
And Sheriff Joe is no William Bratton.
"For me," Romley offered, "you're going to have to show a long period of sincere effort. Not like doing certain things like the booth at the [National Hispanic Women's Conference]. To expect [anybody] to get up and say, 'All's forgiven,' it doesn't work that way. That's the harm that comes from this. It takes years to recover."
Truly, Arpaio's attempts to "reach out" to the Latino community have been lame in the extreme: such as the booth the MCSO tried to score at the forum Romley mentioned, only to be shot down by the conference's organizers. Or Arpaio's recent stunt of placing white crosses in the desert near Gila Bend as a disingenuous homing device for lost migrants.
Ironically, Casey objected to the ACLU's suggestion of a community-outreach program that would include a Spanish-speaking liaison officer, regular community meetings in each district, and a Community Advisory Board.
At the August 30 hearing, Casey told Snow that his client was opposed "to any community outreach in this order" and that it was "beyond the scope of this order."
With the MCSO hostile to the idea, Snow at first seemed to waver. But ACLU lawyer Dan Pochoda argued on behalf of an extensive community-outreach program, observing that it had been part of a federal judge's decree affecting the NYPD's discriminatory stop-and-frisk policy, as well as a number of school-desegregation cases.
"This is not an optional issue," Pochoda told the court, adding, "This is clearly part of [an] effective remedy, given the history of this particular sheriff -- the abusive and unconscionable practices intentionally directed at the Latino community [that] target[ed] people because of who they are and not because of what they did."
Ultimately, Pochoda won the day. In his order, Snow has an entire section on community outreach, ordering creation of a Community Advisory Board of six members, three chosen by the MCSO and three by the plaintiffs.
The board, Snow said, will "facilitate dialogue" between the MCSO and the Latino community and make recommendations that will "increase community trust" and "ensure that the provisions of this order are met."
This part of the order seems particularly fitting, since community activists such as Lydia Guzman, Sal Reza, and Carlos Garcia dogged the MCSO at every step, recording its actions (sometimes literally) and seeking out victims to serve as witnesses of MCSO abuse.
Unfortunately, Snow's order covers only so much. Beyond the purview of the lawsuit was the issue of Arpaio's worksite raids, which continue to crush mothers, fathers, and children whose only real "crime" is using a fictitious Social Security Number or someone else's identity to work.
With recent raids on a local family restaurant and a cleaning service, Arpaio has signaled that he will continue to persecute the undocumented through this asinine diversion of resources from legitimate law enforcement activities.
The worksite raids are part of the DOJ's lawsuit against the MCSO. Among other issues, including anti-Latino abuses in Arpaio's jails, the complaint takes aim at the MCSO's "unconstitutional and unlawful targeting of Latino workers."
But the DOJ's suit was filed in May 2012. It could take years for it to conclude.
Interestingly, the Latino community's recent win in Somos America v. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors -- with the federal court's ordering an end to the County Attorney's Office's practice of charging migrants with conspiracy to self-smuggle -- suggests that Arpaio's worksite raids also are illegal and will suffer the same fate.
Concocted by the dark mind of disbarred, disgraced ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas, the policy of charging people with self-smuggling was just one way of holding the undocumented without bail under Prop 100 -- and coercing them into pleading guilty.
As I have documented at length, Thomas' other method of punishing the undocumented -- thereby making an end run around the federal government's supremacy in all things having to do with immigration -- was charging undocumented workers captured by the MCSO in worksite raids with identity theft and forgery.
The policy continues under current County Attorney, Montgomery. But it eventually must end.
Because the court in the self-smuggling case noted -- as has the U.S. Supreme Court -- that "unlawful presence alone is not a federal crime." But the county's self-smuggling policy, which Montgomery campaigned on in 2010, criminalized "mere unlawful presence."
And since federal law trumps state law, particularly when it comes to immigration, the judge in the case sided with the plaintiffs, ordering that the policy cease.
Similarly, Montgomery and Arpaio have used ID-theft laws and statutes pertaining to forgery to hold the undocumented without bond, punish them for working, and get around federal immigration law, which regulates when and how aliens can work.
It is one of the last dominoes to fall in this pernicious game, a practice we must end by political means. And soon. Too many have suffered already. We cannot wait several more years for a court to do what we already know is right.