Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thugs in law enforcement

This story came over the transom today:
Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Justin Dwyer, 39, a former leader in the neo-Nazi organization Aryan Nations, on drug charges stemming from an undercover investigation. Dwyer himself was employed as a deputy in the sheriff’s office at the time of his arrest.

Dwyer was arrested on May 20, 2007, and charged with involving a minor in a drug offense, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of drugs, use of cocaine, possession of a firearm during a drug offense, and use of electronic communication in a drug-related transaction.

At the time of the arrest, Dwyer was allegedly attempting to purchase cocaine. According to authorities, the charge of involving a minor stems from an alleged incident in April, in which Dwyer purportedly sent his minor son to meet with a drug dealer and purchase cocaine.

It's kind of amazing to see names like Justin Dwyer's popping up in these circumstances -- not the drug bust, which is unsurprising, but the fact that he was employed as a deputy for an Arizona sheriff.

Dwyer, as the story notes, is well known in the Pacific Northwest:
Dwyer currently resides in Arizona, but spent most of the 1990s in the Pacific Northwest. It was during this time that he became one of the more prominent white supremacist leaders in the region. In the early 1990s, Dwyer acted as the Washington State Leader for Aryan Nations. Aryan Nations, led by Richard Butler of Hayden Lake, Idaho, was at the time one of the largest and most notorious neo-Nazi groups in the United States, with a propensity for criminal activity.

In October 1991, Dwyer and his group distributed racist fliers in Washington. Dwyer said that the group was putting its greatest efforts into recruiting because "members of the Aryan Nations share the belief that the 'white race' is more highly evolved than other races and that people who are not white were created as a work force for the planet."

In 1992, Dwyer was a featured speaker at the annual Aryan Youth Action Conference, a regular event founded by Butler to recruit young racists and skinheads into the neo-Nazi movement. By 1994 he was helping to secure white power bands to play for the event.

Dwyer resigned from Aryan Nations in the late 1990s, citing disagreements over recruiting tactics and its treatment of youth and women.

As far as anyone knows, Dwyer never renounced his racist beliefs -- only his ties to the Aryan Nations, for reasons related more to strategy than to ideology.

Yet here's the kicker:
The Sheriff’s Office was aware at the time of Dwyer’s hiring of his former status with Aryan Nations.

Can anyone explain to me what the hell a sheriff -- particularly one with a jurisdiction, such as any in Arizona, where deputies will be in frequent contact with racial minorities -- is doing hiring a neo-Nazi goon (which is precisely what Justin Dwyer is)?

I mean, at a bare minimum, it displays incredibly poor judgment hiring a person of Dwyer's known character -- which has played out in fairly predictable fashion -- for a sensitive position of authority like sheriff's deputy.

But what kind of message is this sheriff sending to the minority communities in his jurisdiction, hiring known racist thugs?

Perhaps some of our Arizona readers (especially those conversant with the intricacies of Yavapai County politics) can chime in.

We've known for some time that white supremacists have been successfully infiltrating the American military. The prospect of a similar trend in law enforcement is downright chilling.

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