Birther believers in Arizona will have to find another place to congregate later this month, after Tea Party organizers announced late last week that they were canceling an upcoming event due to a lack of ticket sales.
The event was set to be headlined by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and another member of his "Cold Case Posse," both of whom have been outspoken proponents of conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama's birth certificate being a forgery. 78-year-old singer Pat Boone, who was taped last year speaking out about Obama's alleged Kenyan birthplace, was also set to make an appearance. Rounding out the bill was Terrence Lakin, a former Army doctor who was dismissed from the service and sentenced to six months in a military prison after refusing to deploy to Afghanistan over his birther beliefs.
While organizers admitted that the confab had "been cancelled due to inadequate ticket sales," Talking Points Memo points out that supporters aired ideas of their own about the failed endeavor on Facebook:
One theory could be found on the Facebook page of Linda Bentley, an Arizona tea party activist who had been promoting the event. A visitor to her page wrote that it had been doomed because Arpaio was unwilling to take his probe even further and investigate the president for murder.
“The REASON the EVENT by Sheriff Joe & his Cold Case POSSE was CANCELLED is because the Sheriff & others are TOO DUMB to SEE the MURDERS Barack Obama had his Security Adviser John Brennan commit on Obama’s Gay Lovers in Chicago,” the visitor wrote.
Arpaio remains one of the most prominent figureheads of the birther movement, even as polls suggest that his crusade on the issue is damaging his approval rating. Not all birthers are satisfied with his de facto leadership role, however. Orly Taitz, self-proclaimed "queen of the birthers," criticized Arpaio's seeming hesitance to get more deeply involved in the cause, expressing a sentiment that appears to be shared among some of the most dedicated members of the movement.
"As you know, Sheriff Arpaio and his investigator Mike Zullo do a lot of press conferences, interviews and raised reported 7 million dollars for Arpaio’s reelection campaign. However, they never filed any charges against Obama and his accomplices with the District Attorney or Attorney General, they refused to appear in court and testify under penalty of perjury, when I subpoenaed them 3 times in cases challenging Obama in GA, IN, MS. According to this latest interview by Arpaio’s investigator Mike Zullo, they never even filed a complaint with the FBI," Taitz wrote last week, going on to urge her supporters to pressure Arpaio into further action.
"Talk is cheap. Time is of the essence," she concluded.
Also on HuffPost:
Maricopa County Employees Call Latinos Derogatory Names
Jail employees frequently refer to Latinos as "wetbacks," "Mexican bitches," and "stupid Mexicans," according to the lawsuit. An email that included a photography of a Chihahua dressed in swimming gear with the caption "A Rare Photo of a Mexican Navy Seal" was widely distributed by sheriff's office supervisors.
Officers Mistreat Latinos In Routine Traffic Enforcement
The lawsuit recounts how a Latina woman who was five-months pregnant and a U.S. citizen was stopped as she pulled into the driveway. "After she exited her car, the officer then insisted that she sit on the hood of the car. When she refused, the officer grabbed her arms, puled them behind her back, and slammed her, stomach first, into the vehicle three times. He then dragged her to the patrol car and shoved her into the backseat," reads the complaint. She was cited for failure to provide identification, which was later changed to failure to provide proof of insurance. The issue was resolved when the woman proved she had insurance to a court. In yet another case, two officers followed a Latina U.S. citizen a quarter of a mile to her home without flashing their lights. When she arrived home, they insisted that she stay in the car. The reason for the stop was a "non-functioning license plate light." After she tried to enter her home, officers took her to the ground, kneed her in the back and handcuffed her. She was brought to a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) substation and cited for "disorderly conduct," which was later dismissed, according to the lawsuit.
Latinos Are Indiscriminately Detained In Immigration Raids
A Latina born in the United States was taken into custody for four hours in a raid to determine her immigration status. Arpaio was quoted in response, "That's just normal police work. You sometimes take people in for probable cause for questioning and they're released." The suit notes that the reason for her detainment -- being Latina and present during a raid -- were insufficient.
Arpaio And MCSO Staff Foster Discrimination Against Latinos
Arpaio received a letter reading, "If you have dark skin, then you have dark skin. Unfortunately, that is the look of the Mexican illegals who are here illegally. ... I'm begging you to come over ... and round them all up." The sheriff labeled this as "intelligence" and forwarded to his deputy chief of enforcement operations for someone to "handle this." Upon receiving a letter backing the policy of "stopping Mexicans to make sure they are legal," he sent a letter of appreciation to the authors and kept three copies for himself, according to the lawsuit. An email circulated among MCSO staff had an image of a fake driver's license from "Mexifornia" and listed the driver's class as "illegal alien."
MCSO Employees Fail To Provide Assistance To Prisoners With Limited English
The failure to provide adequate language assistance caused some female Latina prisoners to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation, alleges the suit. Others have allegedly been put in solitary confinement for "extended periods of time" for not understanding a command in English.
MCSO Arrests Arpaio Critics Expressing Their First Amendment Rights
The suit claims on multiple occasions that people were arrested for merely applauding against the office's immigration policies. The judge presiding over the case of the arrestees found that the deputy who made the arrest "believes it is his role to make uncomfortable anyone who express[es] views that disagree with the sheriff" and that he had "trampled" over the First Amendment. The court acquitted them.