Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva is one of many calling for the resignation of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after an investigative report revealed that his office mishandled more than 400 sex crime cases.
The Associate Press found that the office of America’s self-named “Toughest Sheriff” failed to correctly investigate over 400 sex crimes, including numerous cases involving allegations of child molestation. The 400 cases are those reported in the three years ending in 2007.
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.”
Monday, Congressman Grijalva released a statement saying, “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.
“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.”