Johnston County, N.C., Sheriff Steve Bizzell, until recently the president of the North Carolina Sheriffs Association, has apologized for his portrayal of the Mexican immigrant community in a Raleigh News & Observer article about his county’s growing Hispanic population. Bizzell criticized illegal immigrants for “breeding like rabbits” and declared, “Mexicans are trashy.” Tony Asion of the advocacy group El Pueblo, the apology was not good enough. “I don’t want his apology, I want his badge,” said Asion, who was born in Cuba. “As a 20-year veteran of the Delaware State Police force, I resent the fact that he’s even a cop.”
Bizzell apologized for making “broad statements that reflected on the legal and law-abiding Hispanic population — that was never my intention.” He said the statements were influenced by a fatal wreck involving a drunken driver last year that dramatically changed his focus. The driver, who had previously been repeatedly charged with drunken driving, struck and killed a boy in April. During his term as sheriffs’ association president, Bizzell helped make North Carolina one of the most aggressive states in the nation for deporting illegal immigrants.