As Mike Bates documented on Monday night, CNN’s Rick Sanchez likened Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to the segregationist “Bull” Connor during an interview on Monday’s Newsroom: “Like Bull Connor in 1960s, you’re going to sit there and tell the feds, you don’t care what they say, you’re going to do it your way and you're going to do it when you want to do it?” However, earlier in the segment, Sanchez also hinted that the sheriff was acting like a Nazi in his operations against illegal immigrants: “There are twenty-five years of laws and standards used by police departments where they’re real careful about probable cause, so that we don’t create a Gestapo environment in this country” [audio of both the Gestapo reference and the “Bull Connor” label available here; video at right].
The anchor first accused Arpaio of arresting people at random in his immigration raids: “What about the other people that- who you interfered in their lives simply while you were looking for someone else?” When the sheriff denied that he had, that “the others that were illegal, we put them in jail because they have committed other crimes,” Sanchez made the Nazi reference:
SANCHEZ: We come back to the same question though about how you know that they were illegal if you didn’t use a method of probable cause that we are not supposed to use in this country. There are twenty-five years of laws and standards used by police departments where they’re real careful about probable cause, so that we don’t create a Gestapo environment in this country.
During an interview earlier in the month with Sanchez, Arpaio had stated that his law enforcement officials use “what type of clothes they’re wearing, their speech-they admit it; they have phony IDs,” among other variables, in determining whether a suspect is an illegal immigrant or not. The anchor replied, “You judge people and arrest them based on their speech and the clothes that they’re wearing, sir?” The sheriff clarified that “federal law specifies the speech, the clothes, the environment, the erratic behavior” can be used in making that determination.
Sanchez replayed that portion of the interview before introducing Arpaio, and claimed that “the feds say it’s not in the law.” His only evidence of this was a separate interview he conducted with Assistant Homeland Security Secretary John Morton, who only stated that “at the end of the day, I feel that the sweeps that he [Arpaio] conducts in Maricopa County aren’t consistent with our priorities as an agency, and that’s, namely, to identify and remove serious criminal aliens from the streets of Arizona.”