There’s a serious epidemic of schadenfreude that has put a smile on some of Maricopa County. I refer to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s contempt of court hearing, which made its federal court debut last week. It has greatly embarrassed Sheriff Joe, makes him out to be a lawless lawman and certainly has him by the short tonsils.
Arpaio stands accused of violating federal Judge G. Murray Snow’s 2012 order to cease the sheriff’s standard practice of racial profiling. Arpaio and his henchmen already have admitted to violating the judge’s order. Now the issue is whether the sheriff’ intended to violate the order.
Arpaio has been elected sheriff in Maricopa County six times. He has humiliated prisoners, fed them nearly inedible food and housed them in tents under the Arizona sun. He has sucked every ounce of publicity in so doing. His hubris is unequaled in law enforcement past or present.
So the reason that he broke the law, defied a federal court order? Here is his statement as it appeared in the Arizona Republic:
“I’ve been a top federal official for 22 years. I have a deep respect for the courts, federal courts and federal judges. I didn’t know all the facts of this court order, and it really hurts me that after 55 years … to be in this position. So I want to apologize to the judge that I should have known more … This court order slipped through the cracks.”
Do not doubt that some will believe Arpaio did not know the gun was loaded. But they ought to be in the minority, particularly when Arpaio admitted hiring a private dick to investigate comments by Judge Snow’s wife. Arpaio reign has been an exercise in constant arrogance. Wonder if Maricopa County voters can figure that out, or instead Arpaio will be reelected in two years to a 7th term. Arpaio’s hubris knows no boundaries, but apparently neither does his voter appeal.
So however much you might enjoy watching Sheriff Jo squirm and the how the warmth of schadenfreude envelopes you, never underestimate the appeal of pink underwear.