Effort to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio falls short of necessary signatures

By Kay Steiger
Friday, May 31, 2013 11:44 EDT
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Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Image via KPHO-TV.
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The committee assembled to recall the nationally famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio over allegations of racist efforts to enforce federal immigration law failed to gather enough signatures to trigger a recall election, KPNX reported on Thursday.

[Ed. note: The video below is designed to auto-play, a feature we cannot disable. Please scroll down to pause the video while you read.]

Respect Arizona had until 5 p.m. to submit 335,317 valid signatures. Lilia Alvarez, an organizer with the group, told the Arizona Republic that the group had collected more than 300,000 signatures in the 120 days allotted, but that they wouldn’t submit them “out of respect to voters and taxpayers.” She also said the group had gathered more than 1,500 new voter registrations over the course of their efforts.

Arpaio supporters alleged that the recall effort was illegal, even filing a lawsuit that claimed the recall effort couldn’t be underway until six months after Arpaio had been sworn in after his most recent re-election.

KPNX’s Lissette Martinez reported that one of the organizers, Randy Parraz, said, “We didn’t have enough donors step forward to give us those checks. We didn’t have enough volunteers to carry this thing forward. We didn’t have enough buy-in from elected officials with the courage in Maricopa County to stand up to Sheriff Arpaio. That’s why we came up short.” Indeed, public documents filed with the Arizona Secretary of State showed the group didn’t raise any money between November 27, 2012 and January 31 of this year.

Chad Snow, in a press conference recorded by KPNX, promised to continue to fight Arpaio in the courts and continue to call for his resignation.

Arpaio has come under fire for allegedly targeting Latinos in his efforts to single-handedly enforce federal immigration law, as well as for a recent review that found his office failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex crimes between 2002 and 2008. The group also claims the sheriff has cost the county more than $25 million in legal settlements related to these allegations.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled recently that Arpaio’s office had systemically profiled Latinos on its immigration patrols. The Associated Press reported:

Snow wrote that “in the absence of further facts that would give rise to reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a violation of either federal criminal law or applicable state law is occurring,” Arpaio’s office now is enjoined from enforcing its policy “on checking the immigration status of people detained without state charges, using Hispanic ancestry or race as any factor in making law enforcement decisions pertaining to whether a person is authorized to be in the country, and unconstitutionally lengthening stops.”

Arpaio has pledged to appeal the ruling.

“It is definitely a sad day because nobody wins,” Alvarez told the Republic.

Watch the report, broadcast on May 30 by KPNX.

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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