Supporters of the "Toughest Sheriff in America" are telling people
to back off. Since being re-elected in November, Maricopa County Sheriff
Joe Arpaio has been under fire, and organizers have been working to establish
a recall election in the hopes of removing him from his post. They claim
that he has routinely ignored
sexual assault cases in favor of immigration enforcement, which has struck an emotional
chord within Phoenix's Latino community.
Specifically, Arpaio's critics cite the fact that more than 400
sex crime cases were not adequately investigated or examined at all. This was a huge political
issue during the election, and his critics believe that he essentially
ignored the issue. A recent internal affairs report suggested that sex
crime cases were mismanaged due to lack of communication and understaffing.
Also, it did not attribute the failures to one single person (i.e. Sheriff Arpaio).
In the meantime, supporters of the long time sheriff are threatening court
action if the efforts do not stop. According to an azfamily.com report,
the group Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results believes that the
proposed recall is merely a scheme to harass him and prevent the appropriate
carriage of justice. The group recently called a press conference to announce
a cease and desist letter sent to recall organizers.
Nevertheless, recall advocates still have time to rally support for an
election. According to state law, they have until May 30th to gather the
required number of voters' signatures (about 335,000) to force a recall
election. They indicated to media outlets that they have about 50,000
thus far. Should they succeed, the earliest a recall election could be
held is in November.