Writer asks why Kings County Sheriff honors Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Updated 6 years ago

(Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson announced Wednesday that he will not attend and introduce controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio at a Republican dinner on Sept. 29 in Fresno. The Leader spoke with Robinson after learning that he had decided not to attend. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has also decided not to attend.)

Along with millions of other Americans, I was not shocked when a Republican president, who has been openly endorsed by the white Nationalist Movement, pardoned Joe Arpaio. I was though surprised when a local Republican party chapter thought a (pardoned) criminal was deserving enough to be given center stage attention at their Sept. 29 banquet.

I was horrified to hear that Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson was a keynote speaker. This sets a dangerous tone for the Kings County Sheriff Department. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to look around Kings County and see our area as a melting pot of every ethnicity and skin color you can think of.

I find this to be a great resource and asset to the economy as well as the culture. However, someone should remind Sheriff Robinson, because apparently in his day-to-day functions he lost sight of that diversity and let himself get romanced by the idea of speaking to an audience before a well-known racist bigot takes the stage and flaunts that he broke the law and got away with it.

Why Sheriff Robinson thought this was okay is beyond my comprehension. It is just as important to stand for something as it is to refuse a request that would directly insult your department and incite distrust and animosity within your district.

I detest the theory that the Fresno County Republican Party and the world call this person the “Toughest” sheriff in town. It is not hard to be a racist. Do not call a person repeatedly proven over and over of abusing the law to accommodate his bigoted views “tough.” That is not tough.

Joe Arpaio is not tough. He is a coward. His job as sheriff can be considered one of the toughest jobs there is on the basis that he alone must serve as a watch dog over his force, ensuring his deputies uphold the law in an equitable fashion and ensure the safety of millions of citizens.

Joe Arpaio did not do this. While his career was not just the crimes he committed, he did, in fact, have a long history of accusations of abuse of power; of refusing to treat inmates equally and humanely. Their voices matter. What Joe Arpaio did was illegal and wrong, and no amount of pardons make it right.

 Evil persists when good men do nothing. It flourishes when it's rewarded. Like when Fresno Republicans hold a banquet in your honor. When local sheriffs get up to speak for you and alienate their entire district by endorsing your hatred, your greed, your ability to abuse the law for your agenda.

Joe Arpaio, you are not tough.

Fresno Republican Party, your endorsement of hate is shameful.

Sheriff Robinson, we expect and demand better of our sheriff. 

Samantha Koutny Sanchez

Kings County resident

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