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Miffed sheriff takes his boys and goes home

20 September 2008

Guadalupe, Arizona is in Maricopa County, Arizona… BUT apparently won’t receive county services:

The town of Guadalupe’s contract for police services with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will end in March, one year earlier than the contract calls for, the county’s Board of Supervisors decided Wednesday.

The 3-1 vote by the board started the clock for town officials and Sheriff Joe Arpaio to try to negotiate a deal to reinstate the contract and continue law-enforcement services in the small town southeast of Phoenix.

Guadalupe and the Sheriff’s Office have 180 days to strike a deal, and it appears they can.
Arpaio said Wednesday that he would be willing to negotiate with Guadalupe Mayor Frank Montiel only if no one will tell him how to police the town or whether he can launch immigration sweeps, similar to those done in April amid protests, fights with town politicians and accusations of racial profiling.

“You will not tell this sheriff what laws to enforce in Guadalupe,” Arpaio said in a news conference.

The 6,000 or so Guadalupanos are 75 percent of Mexican descent. Half are Yaquis, who founded the community as a refuge from Porfirio Diaz’ pograms against the Sonoran native people at the turn of the 20th century.  Back on 3 April, the notorious (in all senses of the word) county sherriff, Joe Arpaio, ran into more than he bargained for in one of his publicity-stunt “anti-immigration raids“:

… there were only four horsemen that evening, bolstered, though they were, by about 40 more deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. But as the contingent of gendarmes slowly approached in an attempt to clear the entrance to the Family Dollar parking lot where Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s mobile command center had set up camp, there was the feel of something ugly about to go down.

The crowd of about 200 activists and citizens responded to this menace with high-pitched cries: “Yip, yip, yip, yip!” As if on cue, the horses began to buck their riders and neigh and snort, forcing the sheriff’s mounties to pull back behind the chain-link fence.

“Those are Mexican horses,” someone quipped as folks laughed and cheered. It was but one sign that the two-day anti-immigrant sweep was not proceeding as planned.

Arpaio’s forces were meeting resistance outside the Family Dollar store, where demonstrators wielded homemade placards ordering Arpaio off Yaqui tribal land … and accusing his deputies of racial profiling.

Though advised it was “political suicide” Guadalupe mayor Rebecca Jimenez — in front of television cameras covering the botched operation — told the Sheriff that his alleged press release claiming the city council had invited the sheriff to conduct the operation was phoney. As a result, Arpio angrily said: “”Well, we will be back here tomorrow: full force!”.

Mayor Jimenez has since been replaced with a more concilatory Mayor, Frankie Montiel, who is willing to allow the Sheriff to conduct his made for TV immigration sweeps — but when city residents, joined by immigrant rights groups, showed up at a county supervisors’ meeting last Tuesday, the supervisors “went into lockdown” and in an executive session (which is probably illegal under Arizona’s “Open Meetings Act”) voted to discontinue providing Sheriff’s Department services to the community.

Sheriff Joe, you ready to rumble?

I have to admit I’ve never heard of a U.S. county attempting to punish a community by cutting off mandated services, but Guadalupe is on their own in 180 days(though they may contract for police protection from nearby Phoenix or Tempe).

Though mostly farmers, the Yaqui’s ferocity as fighters even scared the Apaches… heck, the most famous Yaqui of all times — Maria Felix — was never a pushover, in the movies or in real life.  You know those  old stories about staking guys out in the desert on anthills?  That was a Yaqui thing.  I wouldn’t hold out much hope for survival of any criminal who has to be dealt with locally.

If they were able to hold off Porfirio Diaz throughout his regime (and were still staging uprisings into the 1920s), I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Sheriff Joe, either. “Yip! Yip! Yip!” for the Municipio Libre of Guadalupe!

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