In an unprecedented call today, U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) released a statement in support of a growing tidal wave of demands for the resignation of disgraced Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In advance of tonight's historic town council meeting in Guadalupe, which will consider the first ever government resolution calling for Arpaio to step down in light of his department's mishandling of hundreds of sex crimes investigations, Pastor joined U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, local and state officials, and national human rights and labor organizations:
"I stand united with my constituents and town officials of Guadalupe in support of the Guadalupe Resolution calling for the resignation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
In a stinging editorial this morning, the Arizona Republic framed the crisis as a watershed shift in public opinion over confidence in the increasingly erratic 79-year-old Arpaio:
For many years, a doting public has reveled in the bluster and bravado of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio based on a single premise -- a premise we now know to be utterly, transparently false.
Let "America's toughest sheriff" tell the molested kids of El Mirage how tough he is on crime.
Let him explain to them how his incompetent administration scarcely lifted a finger to investigate hundreds of sex-crime cases Valley-wide -- many of them perpetrated against children; many with easily identifiable suspects -- to say nothing of numerous other crimes, including homicides, that Arpaio's investigators did virtually nothing to close.
Calling Arpaio's bungling efforts "a complete failure of the most basic functions of law enforcement," highly respected Phoenix writer and public interest advocate Julie Erfle added in a blog yesterday:
"America's Toughest Sheriff" may soon be getting a new title, "America's Most Disgraced Sheriff." That's a more fitting title for a man who allowed rapists and child molesters to roam free while hundreds of young girls and mothers lived in fear and shock after their reports of sexual assaults were dismissed by the Sheriff's department (MCSO).
For far too long, voters have been hoodwinked into believing the propaganda set forth by Joe and his dominions. For far too long, the residents of Maricopa County have sat back and allowed Sheriff Joe to do whatever to whomever he pleased without repercussions. For far too long, voters have looked the other way, allowing him to bend the law and lose millions in lawsuits and misappropriated funds because of the false belief that he was tough on crime.
And the result of this false logic? Hundreds of young girls and women who were courageous enough to report the crimes committed against them will never know justice, and an untold number of crimes that could have been prevented were not.
It's time for the curtain to close on Arpaio's reign and for the lives of these young victims to take precedence over propaganda.
It's time to go, Joe.
In a press release today, Rebekah Friend, the leader of the AZ AFL-CIO, noted "Sheriff Joe Arpaio's dereliction of duty harmed children of working families." Friend wrote: "Working families in Maricopa County deserve better, Arizona deserves better. For the sake of the children whose cries for help you ignored, I call for your immediate resignation."
The Citizens for a Better Arizona, which recently formed a "Citizens Posse" to hold Arpaio accountable for a state of gross civil right violations, will also be announcing future plans after tonight's hearing.