by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 31, 2012) — NBC News has reported that the U.S. Department of Justice has decided to abandon its investigation into Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio for alleged civil rights violations against Latinos.
Arpaio had denied any malfeasance, and NBC reports that “no charges will be filed.”
NBC quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel, who said that a joint team including DOJ prosecutors and FBI special agents performed the investigation.
Yesterday, Arpaio addressed a group of RNC delegates in Tampa, FL. The Republican National Convention officially concluded on August 30.
The Department of Justice is headed by Eric Holder, who has withheld documents involved in the Fast & Furious probe launched by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, after which the entire House voted to cite Holder for criminal and civil contempt of Congress. Fast & Furious was a gunwalking scheme which allowed firearms to be transferred to middlemen and then to Mexican criminals. Many of the guns were not tracked, and at least two Americans were killed as a result.
Some have compared Fast & Furious to Nixon’s Watergate. Obama claimed executive privilege over the documents subpoenaed by the House committee, which historically implies that he played a part in their creation.
Arpaio’s office has been conducting an investigation into the birth certificate image of Barack Hussein Obama posted on the internet on April 27, 2011. A Cold Case Posse and Arpaio declared at two news conferences on March 1 and July 17, respectively, that the image did not originate with a paper document and is “definitely fraudulent.”
The Christian Science Monitor called the posse “controversial” and claimed that its investigation had damaged Arpaio’s popularity with Maricopa County residents. In a shockingly biased “report” by the once-reliable U.S. News & World Report, Arpaio’s investigation into Obama’s birth certificate is described as “antics” which have “landed him in hot water.”
Chain gangs have been used by Arpaio’s office to pick up debris and other chores, but participation is voluntary, according to CNN. Arpaio is reportedly not the only sheriff to use them and believes that they are a deterrent to crime.
Arpaio called for a congressional investigation, but to date no one appears to have has launched a probe into Arpaio’s findings. Congress has been out of town for the August break.
A report dated August 31, 2012 states that despite the federal investigation, Arpaio has raised more money than ever before in his bid for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff in November. The DOJ monitored the primary elections in Maricopa County earlier this month.
The Department of Justice had begun its investigation in 2008, citing discrimination against “Latinos” involving the First Amendment right to free speech, “unconstitutional policing,” and “use of excessive force,” among other items. In December of last year, it was stated that “a reform plan” would be developed. Originally, a 22-page complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice had cited Arpaio for a “pervasive bias” against people of Hispanic origin as well as “abuse of power.” Arpaio was reportedly “singled out” by the Justice Department, which has now stated that it will not pursue its aggressive criminal investigation.
It was reported by an editorial in an Arizona newspaper that “more than 400 individuals” had been interviewed and “tens of thousands of pages of documentary evidence” had been reviewed.
So what happened? Who paid for the four-year-long probe which has resulted in nothing?
If FBI agents can investigate Arpaio, can they also look into his allegations as to Obama’s birth certificate being fraudulent?
Arpaio’s investigation into Obama’s birth certificate began in September 2011, and the DOJ filed its complaint in December.
Arpaio went to court earlier this month after a group of Latinos filed a civil lawsuit in 2007 against his department claiming that it practiced “systematic discrimination.” A federal lawsuit filed on May 10, 2012 is still proceeding after Arpaio refused to allow federal monitors to “search his office for evidence” regarding “racial profiling” against people of Latino background.
Some critics of Arpaio are disappointed that the DOJ has dropped its investigation and perceive that the move is politically-motivated. Or was the investigation itself politically-motivated?
Arpaio has provided a response to the announcement that the Justice probe had concluded with no charges resulting. The DOJ stated in a three-page letter that it did not believe it could meet the burden of proof of “criminal prosecutions.” At 11:38 PM EDT on September 1, Arpaio tweeted, “Happy to be home from the RNC in Florida got great news getting off plane. Fed’s 3 year case against my office closed. No abuse of power.”
Why would the Department of Justice drop its investigation now?
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.