Sheriff Joe Arpaio is no stranger to words like “civil rights violations.” In fact, he’s been found guilty of them! Birther maniac Arpaio has long been criticized for his “unique” way of doing things. Arpaio limits prisoner meals to two per day, often serving “surplus” (including moldy) food. Sheriff Joe humiliates prisoners by forcing them to wear pink clothing in a symbolic stripping of their masculinity. He forces some prisoners — many of whom have not even been convicted of a crime — to live in tents in the extreme Arizona heat, which often reach excesses of 100 °F and can dip as low as 20°.
When prisoners complained that their shoes were melting from the extreme 145° heat inside what Arpaio calls his own little “concentration camp,” Arpaio dispassionately replied that “It’s 120 ° in Iraq, and the soldiers are living in tents, have to wear full body armor and they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut your mouths.” Did we mention he thinks the President is from Kenya?
Sheriff Joe’s practices have been condemned by the Department of Justice, the ACLU, the Arizona Ecumenical Council, the AZ Anti-Defamation League, and even Amnesty International.
In 2008 and 2010, the Maricopa County jails were found to have violated the constitutional rights of inmates. Arpaio and Pals were also found to have targeted Sheriff Joe’s critics on the Board of Supervisors for criminal investigation. Arpaio was found to have violated Arizona state election rules in 2010, and misspent almost $100 million in funds over a five year period. Arpaio even orchestrated an assassination plot against himself in 1999, seemingly to justify the purchase of a “bomb proof” and “missile proof” vehicle.
It’s no surprise, then, that after getting away with all of these abuses for years, Sheriff Joe continues to push the envelope with regard to treatment of prisoners.
In a purported attempt to “honor” the 600o veterans the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office employs. In what is certainly not an attempt to further dehumanize his prisoners, Arpaio has decorated cells with American flag decals and enacted compulsory “Patriotic” music.
Arpaio has decided that those who are not “patriotic enough,” and deface the flag, will face 7 days on what he calls a “bread and water diet“…PER VIOLATION. The “bread,” of course, is Nutri-Loaf, a punishment for bad behavior even Arpaio admits is repugnant.
The flags have been met with some resistance. Ten prisoners are currently subjected to Arpaio’s latest horrible and humiliating attempt at the dehumanization of his unfortunate victims. One person is on the “bread and water diet” through January 26 already.
The ACLU says it is looking into the “constitutionality of whether prisoners can be punished for defiling the flags.” Arpaio innocent claims that he is “just promoting patriotism, plain and simple.”
Here’s a hint, Joe: Patriotism is not something that one can have forced upon him. In fact, if your goal is to promote patriotism, perhaps it is important to consider that this is more likely to breed anti-American sentiments than it is to cause one to feel as strongly for America as you do for the prospect of Barack Obama being from Kenya.
One must ask how Arpaio can claim to be in support of patriotism while he blatantly and repeatedly disregards the constitutional rights of those in his charge. Perhaps rather than “a flag in every cell,” Sheriff Joe should consider a copy of the Constitution in his office.