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Arizona Sheriff Forming Vigilante Group

Arizona Sheriff Forming Vigilante Group

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that he intends to put together a volunteer vigilante force to hunt undocumented persons.  The announcement came by way of press release and is one long advocated for by Arpaio supporter and open neo-Nazi J.T. Ready. 

According the the press release, “The Sheriff will soon implement his plan to commission a volunteer armed posse force outfitted with appropriate hardware and gear to assist in the enforcement of illegal immigration and human smuggling laws.”

Assuming Sheriff Arpaio is good on his word, and given his zeal for law enforcement targeted at Latinos there’s no reason to doubt him, this armed posse will be up and running alongside the U.S. Border Guard–another armed vigilante group patrolling the U.S./Mexico border.  Ready’s the force behind this group, which operates principally out of Pinal and Maricopa Counties.

These kinds of groups are not new to this country–we used to call them lynch mobs.  Historically they enforced anti-miscengation laws and other Jim Crow-era laws that were born of fear and hatred of another visibly-different minority.  The served no purpose other than to terrorize a particular group of people then, and they serve no other purpose now.

Arpaio is playing an interesting game of chicken here with state and federal authorities.  He’s already being sued for failing to cooperate with the grand jury that is investigating Arpaio for civil rights violations.  His past actions have alienated many others in law enforcement who are trying to keep ties with the immigrant communities as part of a comprehensive policing strategy. 

And now he’s decided to start freelancing.  It’s a move that takes him dangerously close to lawlessness and one that, given his ties to racist groups within the extreme right, should make many in the right stop and take notice and ask if this is the person they want as a spokesman in their fight against illegal immigration.

Despite the obvious disconnect in employing armed vigilantes for “legitimate law enforcement” purposes, Arpaio’s chumminess with racists at best creates a PR nightmare for those on the right who are really trying to sell SB 1070 as anything other than grounded in racial malice. 

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photo courtesy of jim.greenhill via Flickr

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330 comments

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4:40PM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Michael C., everybody that hasn't had their head up their Fascist asses the last two years is voting STRAIGHT progressive this time around. Any Rethuglican running for office is an automatic "guilty by association".

10:52AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Sieg Heil Sheriff Joe! You keep the sacred name of the SS (Schutz Staffel) alive and well in Arizona. Quite a difference between law enforcement and race control, eh? Yep, the SS got rid of those pesky Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables. Now it's your turn to get them illegal aliens and anyone who looks like them, including American Citizens. Here's to your new execution squad you're putting together. Nothing is as exciting as a good Mexican Hunt near the border. The kids make a little harder target but your race control militia can get the job done. Good luck Sheriff Joe and I'm enclosing a few dolloars for bullets. You prefer .30 or.50 Cal ?

1:59AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Thank you.

1:59AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Thank you.

1:58AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Thank you.

1:57AM PDT on Sep 22, 2012

Thank you.

11:45PM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

These "vigilantes" just murdered a dad and daughter they assumed were immigrants and were American born, on the citizens' own property in their home and are being charged and convicted. They are profiling and following American citizens who the gov't has "profiled". for petty crimes, NOT simply illegal immigrants. These people are not Republicans or conservative right wing only. These are racist extremists who dislike a little European in the Maine blood.....truly, with Neo-Nazi ties...

3:11PM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Really!? Methinks you did not check out the source material on this.
Further, you statement is slightly incorrect!
"The regressive (Progressive) Party of No (individual attainment) is mean-spirited, thuggish, religiously fanatical, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, hypocritical, xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, evolution and global warming denying, authoritarian, selfish, greedy, lacking compassion, warmongering, and otherwise dangerous.

NEVER vote for (Progressives)."

Much more accurate!

12:50PM PST on Feb 16, 2011

The regressive Republican Party of No is mean-spirited, thuggish, religiously fanatical, scientifically ignorant, corrupt, hypocritical, xenophobic, racist, sexist, homophobic, evolution and global warming denying, authoritarian, selfish, greedy, lacking compassion, warmongering, and otherwise dangerous.

NEVER vote for Republicans.

10:17PM PST on Jan 1, 2011

This thread is a bold faced lie. The Sheriff is doing what he is paid to do by the good people of his county. Now grow up and get real. Ok, we should just look the other way because these people are in need. No! I mean yes we can help them right after we help all of the homeless vetrans in this country and the children who are cronically underfed in this country. Send the Mexican governmet the bill for helping these people out. Oh' you want to see this thing dry up like a snow cone in the noon day sun in Phoenix, just send them the bill.

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