I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, September 18, 2009

Arpaio investigating ACORN

ACORN has done far more good for our community that Joe Arpaio ever will. Stephen deals with this one well. From the Phoenix New Times:

Joe Arpaio Subpoenas ACORN Records in Desperate Attempt to Snuggle on TV with Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Anyone

from ACORN
The most maligned organization in America, gets slimed by the nation's most notorious racial profiler   

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office press releases are known for being as dependable as dispatches from the Flat Earth Society. But this latest one informing the public about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lickspittle attorney Timothy Casey's latest legal maneuver jumps the proverbial shark.

Casey, known for killing whole forests to produce the reams of paper he buries his enemies in, has reportedly made the brilliant move of subpoenaing an organization -- ACORN -- that has absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit at hand.

That lawsuit is the big Melendres v. Arpaio racial profiling case, which is being pursued by the legal firm Steptoe and Johnson, the ACLU and MALDEF on behalf of several plaintiffs who allege racial profiling at the hands of MCSO deputies. The suit seeks to establish that the MCSO is engaging in the pattern and practice of violating the civil rights of Hispanics in Maricopa County. The organization Somos America (We Are America) is one of the plaintiffs.

ACORN, however, is not a plaintiff, and has not joined the lawsuit. But, hey, those facts won't get Arpaio's flaccid jowls on TV with Glenn Beck or Lou Dobbs, capisce?

In the release, Arpaio, apparently at mental war with reality, suggests that ACORN is using "state and federal funds meant to help poor people to conduct a campaign against me and my officers." Heh, like Arpaio gives a dormouse's patootie about poor people. Save for the fact that he likes to arrest them, especially if they're brown.

"These records will show," bloviated Joe, "I believe, that ACORN is in bed with the anti-immigration enforcement organizations which continue to demonstrate in front of my office trying to thwart my officers from enforcing state and federal law."

Later on, Arpaio accuses ACORN of "funding the protesters outside my office."

Crikey, did someone forget to give gramps his Alzheimer's medicine? The group that demonstrates in front of the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Phoenix (where Arpaio keeps two floors of pricey executive suites) is human rights activist Salvador Reza's Puente movement. Puente recently celebrated its first year anniversary of demonstrating against Joe there.

PUENTE and ACORN are two different groups, and both groups are broke. Sure, each organization fights Arpaio, but so does the Goldwater Institute for that matter. Face it Joe, folks across the political spectrum loathe you. And no one has to pay them to feel that way.

Aside from the ACORN-PUENTE jumble, the MCSO press release seems to be riddled with inaccuracies. It says ACORN was served locally and at its national headquarters in D.C.

However, ACORN's national headquarters are in New Orleans. And according to Monica Sandschafer, ACORN's head organizer in Arizona, the local ACORN offices have received nothing from Joe's legal beagle.

Indeed, Sandschafer claimed that Arpaio's lawyer apparently served the wrong organization entirely, the American Institute for Social Justice, which just happens to be in the same office as ACORN's in D.C.
"[AISJ] gave us the subpoena," said Sandschafer. "They passed it on to us. When they saw it, they were like, `Wait a minute, it isn't ours.' So they gave it to us, but that's not our headquarters."

Sandschafer also declared that the content of the subpoena was different from what was described in the Arpaio press release.

"The press release is talking about funding," Sandschafer explained. "The subpoena says nothing at all about funding. He's subpoenaing our correspondence with the Department of Homeland Security."

I'll give ACORN's lawyer a call tomorrow to see if I can get a copy of the subpoena (it's not currently listed on the PACER system for the federal courts, that I can see), and I want to know if ACORN has to comply with this bogus order, seeing that it was not served correctly, and seeing that ACORN has zero to do with the lawsuit in question.

Arpaio is also quoted in the release as saying,"It wouldn't surprise me if they paid for [the Reverend Al] Sharpton's visit..." Er, so what if they did, Joe? Once again, Sharpton has nothing to do with the Melendres v. Arpaio lawsuit. But if your lawyer Timothy Casey wants to lose whatever shred of credibility he's holding onto in the wake of this legal gimcrackery, you should have him subpoena Sharpton as well. Heck, maybe Barack Obama and Daffy Duck, too, while you're at it.

And who's paying Casey to churn out all this meaningless paper?

Oh, that's right, county taxpayers. You and me.

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