Apparently, while Sheriff Arpaio was busy raiding businesses and zip-tieing everyone with brown skin and distracted by his attempts to arrest judges that handed down unfavorable decisions, there was actual violent crime happening in Maricopa County. With the Sheriff busy with celebrities raiding homes suspected of cockfighting with tanks, minor stuff like rape got put on the back burner. The story has just been discovered by the AP but it has been kicking around town for a while:
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crime cases, including dozens in El Mirage, over a two-year period because of poor oversight and former Chief Deputy David Hendershott's desire to protect a key investigator from bad publicity, according to documents pertaining to a recent internal investigation released by the Sheriff's Office.
The errors led to interminable delays for victims of serious crimes who waited years for the attackers to be brought to justice, if they were ever caught.
More than 50 El Mirage sex-crime cases, most involving young children reportedly victimized by friends or family, went uninvestigated after police took an initial report. The lack of oversight was so widespread in El Mirage that it affected other cases: roughly 15 death investigations, some of them homicides with workable leads, were never presented to prosecutors, and dozens of robberies and auto-theft cases never led to arrests.
The East Valley Tribune actually had details on this story over three years ago, in a story that won a Pullitzer, but the Sheriff never bothered to do anything until the story hit the AP.
Employees were preparing to close the 99 Cent Discount Store in El Mirage on Aug. 20, 2006, when a teenage girl ran inside.
Agitated and refusing to leave, the 15-year-old girl told the store's manager that two men had just raped her in a ditch outside, a police report says.
Paramedics took the girl to Del E. Webb Hospital in Sun City West, where medical staff found physical evidence of sexual assault, according to deputy chief Bill Knight, head of the sheriff's central investigations, who researched the case.
At midnight, a detective from the MCSO's special victims unit arrived at the hospital to begin an investigation, the report says.
But the investigation never really began.
The MCSO closed the case a month later by designating it "exceptionally cleared," which is supposed to be applied to cases where a suspect is known and there's enough evidence to make an arrest but circumstances prevent an arrest. That designation allows the MCSO to count the case in the same reporting category as investigations that end in arrest.
But in this case, the detectives didn't have a suspect and appear to have done no work on the case.
I would love to see a reincarnation of "the Wire" focused on our Sheriff's department. All the same corruptions in the show are on display every day here in Arizona.