Today, civil and labor rights activist and senatorial candidate Randy Parraz (D-AZ) served Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio with a civil lawsuit. In the suit, which was filed earlier this month, Parraz claims that he was wrongfully arrested by the sheriff’s deputies in 2008. Arpaio’s spokesman has indicated that “the sheriff’s office doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.” However, a press release issued by Parraz’s campaign for Senate provides more details:
Two years ago, in the spring of 2008, Parraz helped launch Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability to expose Sheriff Arpaio’s abuses of power, including racial profiling. Parraz led a delegation of about a hundred MCSA members before the Board of Supervisors demanding they address Sheriff Joe’s actions. [...]
On September 29, 2008, Mr. Parraz spoke up at a Board of Supervisors meeting without being recognized by the Supervisor Board Chairman Andrew Kunasek. His six second statement was in regard to the request that the Board of Supervisors place certain issues on their agenda for public consideration. Following the event, in a clear attempt to intimidate the Maricopa citizens’ group, Arpaio’s Sheriff Deputies arrested Parraz because of the views he expressed and his leadership role within the community. The arrest was video taped.
Parraz’s complaint will join the hundreds of lawsuits that are already collecting dust on Arpaio’s desk. It also echoes the abuse of power allegations that that triggered an FBI investigation that is currently ongoing. Apparently, several well-known Arizona public figures other than Parraz who were also critical of Arpaio were paid “unwelcome visits” by Arpaio’s officials. The victims have accused Arpaio of “using his position to settle political vendettas.”
Perhaps coincidentally, the Washington Post reported today that Arpaio may soon face yet another lawsuit — from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ, which is investigating allegations of civil rights abuses on behalf of Arpaio’s deputies, claims that his officials are refusing to cooperate with federal agents. As a result, the DOJ is threatening to sue the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “to compel access to the requested documents, facilities, and personnel.”
Randy Parraz is the only Latino Democratic candidate for US Senate in the entire nation.