By Sean Patrick Miller
YA BASTA! | www.seanmiller12.wordpress.com
Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio has blathered, for years, about something he calls, “Rule of Law”. His TEA Bagger supporters have blindly chanted this chorus, as well. Simply stated, Rule of Law dictates the rule of the law, not the capricious, whimsical desires of an autocrat, with his own personal agenda. Rule of Law implies everyone, from the highest public official, to the poorest undocumented immigrant, is culpable, and protected, by the law. In a society with a strong Rule of Law, such concepts as “equal justice under law”, “innocent until proven guilty”, and freedom from “illegal search and seizure” are commonplace. This notion applies, equally, to one’s being secure in one’s own person.
Allegations of inmate abuse in MCSO’s jails, up to and including the deaths of inmates, are so common; this has become a regrettable part of modern culture in Maricopa County.
Remember Kolton Clark? He was a teenager, incarcerated for suspicion of disorderly conduct and assault, during the recent, hotly contended Maricopa Democratic Party primary election, for a candidate to run against the nearly canonized Arpaio. His crime was being a teenager, being drunk, and fighting with another drunken teenager, or so the story goes. One Democratic candidate had the gumption to speak for him, to help him in his struggle against Arpaio’s machine. No, that candidate was not Paul Penzone. It was John Rowan. Rowan became involved at the request of Kolton’s mother. He acted, knowing full well that such action could damage him in the election. It was the right thing to do.
A family friend, who was also present at the time of Kolton’s arrest, visited Kolton at the jail, and reported to Kolton’s mother that Kolton sustained several injuries since his arrest. Kolton told the family friend, these injuries resulted from a beating he received at the hands of MCSO corrections officers after requesting medical attention. This witness further reported that Kolton feared for his life, because these same corrections officers tried to antagonize other inmates to attack him. Kolton’s family feared that he may not survive another night in jail.
Remember innocent, until proven guilty? Kolton’s arrest information appeared online, sans photo. So much for the US Constitution.
Kolton’s bail was extremely low, implying that he was neither violent, nor a hardened criminal. Kolton had no history of violence or crimes, other than the current misdemeanor arrest.
JJ Hensley authored a luke-warm article in the Arizona Republic, implying Kolton’s guilt, and that his injuries were received in the fight, prior to his arrest. He denigrated Rowan, for politically motivated reasons in helping the kid. Hensley’s boss is Phil Boas, Joe Arpaio’s son-in-law. Hensley wrote the story without ever interviewing the defendant, his family, or the witness who visited Kolton. So much for the concept of the Fourth Estate providing a check against incursions of government.
Had Kolton received such a severe beating at the scene of his arrest, as Hensley implied, especially with a stated, associated memory loss, Phoenix Police officers, and Glendale Police officers would have taken Kolton directly to an emergency room for evaluation. This is their policy. They didn’t. Therefore, Kolton’s injuries occurred post incarceration.
Allegations of inmate abuse in MCSO’s jails, up to and including the deaths of inmates, are so common; this has become a regrettable part of modern culture in Maricopa County. This unfortunate fact is exacerbated by a press dedicated to continuing this trend.