Sheriff Babeu Defends Sheriff Arpaio By Politicizing Border Patrol Agent's Death

December 16, 2011 11:37 am ET — Salvatore Colleluori

Sheriff Paul Babeu

Yesterday the Department of Justice released the results of its investigation into Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office. The findings, which allege civil rights violations, inmate abuse, and failure to investigate sexual assault cases, should be unsurprising to anyone who has followed Arpaio over the years. However, Arpaio still has his defenders, including fellow Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County.

Instead of addressing the serious charges against Arpaio, Babeu responded to the DOJ's investigation by going on a tirade against the Department of Justice over the "Fast and Furious" investigation and murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Here's part of Babeu's statement, via Arizona publication San Tan Valley Today:

I have little faith and trust in the U.S. Department of Justice after the actions, subsequent cover up and failure to accept responsibility regarding Operation Fast and Furious. The fact they chose today to release their findings was only done to take the attention away from themselves. Today marks the one-year anniversary since the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. [...]

The U.S. Department of Justice and Eric Holder have concealed information from Congress and the American people about this operation. Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have already been heavily criticized during Congressional hearings to determine the facts surrounding this operation because of their unwillingness to provide information.  Yet, within 12 hours of the Terry family has announcing they want justice against all of those responsible for Operation Fast and Furious, the U.S. Department of Justice decides to release their findings from a 3 ½ year old investigation on MCSO?  The timing of the release of the MCSO investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice was only done today in an attempt to take away the negative attention from their responsibilities for Brian's murder and the murders of hundreds of people in Mexico.

Brian Terry swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution and protect America. Members in law enforcement will continue to stand with the Terry family and press our government for justice as we will not allow Brian's death to be in vain.

Attacking the Department of Justice for "Fast and Furious" and invoking Brian Terry's death instead of acknowledging the contents of the report shows that when Babeu is faced with inconvenient facts he will mislead or, as in this case, change the subject. There's no question that Terry's tragic death deserves attention, but politicizing that tragedy in order to deflect attention away from very serious concerns about Sheriff Arpaio is unacceptable.