According to The Huffington Post, federal charges of abuse of power against Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpiao were quietly dropped on Friday. He and his department were being investigated for alleged misuse of county credit cards as well as other misuse of jail funds. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel reportedly released a statement saying her office "is closing its investigation into allegations of criminal conduct" by current and former members of the sheriff's and county attorney's offices. The Arizona based Assistant U.S. Attorney reportedly claimed to be acting on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. In her statement she wrote, “After careful review, we do not believe the allegations presented to us are prosecutable as crimes."
Arpiao has claimed all along that these charges were all politically motivated. He has earned admiration from some and disapproval from others for his tough stance on law enforcement. He has also been outspoken in his opposition of the current administration. Arpiao was reportedly told the charges had been dropped while he was still in Tampa after attending the Republican National Convention.
The Huffington Post reports that some people question the timing of the announcement, which was late afternoon on a Friday before a holiday weekend. Traditionally, that is a time when people pay the least attention to the news.
The 80-year old sheriff, who is running for a sixth term, is still facing civil charges that his office racially profiles Latinos, retaliates against critics of its policies and bases it actions on citizen complaints that are not allegations of crimes. However, a find against Arpaio in those cases would not result in jail time.
What do you think? Were the charges against Arpaio politically motivated and does the dropping of the charges indicate this?