America's Toughest Sheriff Will Let You Watch Baseball Undistracted


Sheriff Joe Arpaio will not be parading a chain-gang of illegal immigrants and DUI offenders in front of Chase Field in Phoenix today after all. The idea was ostensibly to have the men and woman convicts clean up for today's Major League Baseball All-Star game, but most publicity after the sheriff's initial announchment leaned negative, noting that this was just another look-how-tough-on-crime-I-am, America, stunt from the Maricopa County sheriff known for a laundry list of expensive lawsuits, and depressingly-high approval ratings (lessened recently). 

Arpaio know that making inmates wear pink boxer shorts with "Go Joe" (or "Vamos Joe" in the newly available bilingual-friendly version) is in America's interests, but distracting people from America's past-time is perhaps not:

"'If they had called and asked me to knock it off, I probably would have done it anyway,"' Arpaio said" according to the Phoenix New Times blog. "'I decided to let the people enjoy the game without any outside distraction.'"

Apraio deigned to let baseball fans enjoy the game without having to weigh heavy civil liberties questions or play Cool-Hand Luke. The rest of us tough-on-crime skeptics get to enjoy the (sadly tax-payer-funded) schadenfreude of Maricopa County being ordered to pay 200,000 dollars to a father and son who were held for several hours in one of Apraio's deputies' broad looking-for-illegals sweeps. Don't expect the light touch in law enforcement from a man who once teamed up with Steven Seagal and a tank in order to bring in a man suspected of cockfighting.

Reason has covered many of Sheriff Joe's shenanigans.