Joe Arpaio, Sheriff of Maricopa County, is arguably the most interesting, cruel and controversial name in law enforcement. Sheriff Arpaio seems to treat the Maricopa County Jail as his own personal sideshow and publicity stunt. From making his inmates wear pink underwear to forcing a woman to give birth in shackles; here's a list of the 10 craziest things that the man who has cost Maricopa county over $43 million in lawsuits has ever done with his jailing system.
Forces Woman to Give Birth In Shackles
Alma Minerva Chacon, who was detained while 9-months pregnant, was terrorized by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The night she was arrested, Chacon went into labor and rushed to a hospital with her hands and legs chained in shackles.
Nurses begged the Sheriff's staff unchain Alma, but they refused and Chacon was forced to give birth while still shackled to the bed. They even denied the nurse's request to release her to go to the bathroom for a urinalysis.
As if that was bad enough, after Chacon gave birth to her baby girl, she was still chained to the bed, and the police staff refused to let Chacon hold her own newborn baby and warned her that if no one came to pick up the child within 72 hours, the child would be turned over into state custody.
Paralyzing a Paraplegic Prisoner
Richeard Post was a paraplegic man, with a colostomy bag, who was arrested for possession of marijuana and trespassing in 1996 by Sheriff Joe's department. Not a very violent, and actually a fairly benign charge, given the breadth of crimes someone could be committing in the Mesa/Phoenix area of Arizona.
For some reason, it was decided by Joe's officers that it was necessary to put Richard Post, a paraplegic man with special needs, in an almost-Guantanamo-Bay-style restraint chair, after he got "unruly" because he pleaded with his captors for need of a catheter with which to urinate.
He spent four hours in the chair begging to be released because a paraplegic's body would most likely suffer very serious injuries if kept in a position like this.
When they heard these cries, Sheriff Joe's department of torturers decided to up the ante a little bit on Richard Post's time in the chair: they tightened the restraints as hard as they could, effectively breaking Richard Post's neck.
They broke a paraplegic man's neck.
Post has since lost much of the use of his arms due to the injury and had to have spinal surgery to remove a vertebrae.
All of this for possession of marijuana and basically calling someone a bad name in a public place.
Quite a few people have actually DIED while in Sheriff Joe's prisons, and attached is a video of a hate crime committed, easily, inside a supposedly "maximum security" prison of his.
Arresting Illegal Immigrants... Himself.
How would you THINK that any amnesty laws would be treated by the man who once said it was an honor to be compared to the KKK?
Arizona passed a law in 2005 making it a felony to traffic illegal aliens across the border to the United States. Since it's already a federal law, most other local law enforcement agencies will just turn any illegal aliens discovered over to federal authorities.
Not Sheriff Joe's department, though. Sheriff Joe's department will not only arrest these illegal aliens, but bring them over to his jail.
Sheriff Joe told the Washington Times "My message is clear: if you come here and i catch you, you're going straight to jail... I'm not going to turn these people over to federal authorities so they can have a free ride back to Mexico. I'll give them a free ride to my jail."
After the Obama administration hit the white house, the Department of Homeland Security removed Arapaio's department's authority to make immigration arrests and ended his ability to "hunt down" possible offenders via racial/vehicle profiling.
After all of this, Arpaio currently states that he will continue to pursue illegal aliens under Arizona state law.
Arrested for Clapping
Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies arrested citizens for clapping at a public meeting with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
The citizens, who were there to speak and part of the agenda for the public meeting, were forced out of the room and were not allowed to speak about the issue at hand because they'd expressed a level of enthusiasm that Sheriff Joe and his deputies did not appreciate.
Scroll to about half way through the video to see a woman pleading to have her voice be heard only to have it silenced by the unforgiving arrests of Sheriff Joe's officers.
One of Arpaio's most visible public relations actions was forcing the inmates to wear old-fashioned prison stripes and pink underwear, which the Maricopa County Sheriff's website cites as being "world famous." Arpaio subsequently started to sell customized pink boxers (with the Maricopa County Sheriff's logo and "Go Joe") as a fund-raiser for Sheriff's Posse Association.
Arpaio's success in gaining press coverage with the pink underwear resulted in introducing pink handcuffs, which were used to promote his book, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's Toughest Sheriff. How cute.
Arrested News Reporters For Making Him Angry
In 2004, the Phoenix New Times really pissed Sheriff Joe off by publishing his home address in an article about real estate.
Three years later, a Maricopa county special prosecutor served Phoenix Times's corporate parent Village Voice media with a subpoena. When the editors of that local newspaper then printed the contents of the subpoena, Sheriff Joe arrested them on misdemeanor charges.
The case was dropped pretty much overnight, as the subpoenas were not even validly issued.
Since then, the Phoenix Times has published many stories about Sheriff Joe and how he abuses the law enforcement system. These articles have been so expository and revealing that one series of them has even won a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting.
It seems the only real crime they committed in that first act was upsetting Joe and his department.
15 to 17 year olds sentenced to the county jail for up to one year are placed in a juvenile chain gang, which means that they are bound together at the ankle in groups of five. They wear traditional black and white prison garb as well as the jail's notorious pink underwear.
The juveniles are also required to pick up trash on public streets and bury the relatives of indigent families at the county cemetery. The Sheriff calls the plan "Hard Knocks High."
That's right, they have to BURY DEAD PEOPLE.
He has also instituted the world's first all-juvenile volunteer chain gang, where volunteers can earn high school credit toward a diploma, so it's always a little take a little give with this guy.
Jail Operation Changes
Inmates follow strict fashion and lifestyle guidelines: less food, no p*********y, no television and no cigarettes. You know when your parents said "you're grounded forever"? When Sheriff Joe says it, he means it.
Arpaio began to serve inmates surplus food and limited meals to twice daily, at the cost of only 15 cents per meal. He also banned inmates from possessing "sexually explicit material" including Playboy magazine after female officers complained that inmates openly masturbated while viewing them, or harassed them by comparing their anatomy to the nude photos in the publications. The ban was challenged on First Amendment grounds but upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Other prohibited items include cigarettes, and television (see above).
In February 2007, Arpaio instituted an in-house radio station he calls KJOE. Arpaio's radio station broadcasts classical music, opera, Frank Sinatra hits, patriotic music and educational programming. It operates from the basement of the county jail for five days a week, four hours each day. Other uses of this in-house radio station include bedtime story reading, a self-styled literacy program broadcast nightly to the inmates.