Phoenix: 5,000 march against Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Phoenix Feb. 28 to protest Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and policies that critics charge violate basic human and civil rights. Organizers estimated the number of marchers at more than 5,000. Soon after the march began, Phoenix police blocked traffic to Central Ave. and allowed demonstrators to fill the street, because of their overwhelming numbers—despite the fact that the march had lacked a permit).

Among the demands voiced by protesters was that the federal government end 287(g) agreements and stop the raids of workplaces and immigrant neighborhoods. The 287(g) agreements allow local law enforcement to arrest people if they are suspected of being in the US without proper documents. Critics point to recent actions by Arpaio as evidence of these agreements’ vulnerability to abuse.

“Recently the nation witnessed the ritual humiliation of migrants in a spectacle evocative of some of the most horrific episodes of human history,” said Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Last month Arpaio intensified his on-going escalation of attacks against Latinos by segregating the county jail and parading hundreds of immigrants shackled in a chain-gang into a “tent city”—an urban internment camp surrounded by armed guards, razor wire and electric fencing. (Infoshop News, March 2)

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Arizona.

  1. Criticism for Sheriff Arpaio from Both Right and Left
    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wrote a letter of complaint against Sheriff Arpaio to the United States Justice Department. Members of the Phoenix Police Department are likely to see the legitimacy of the protests and know that the money spent in Sheriff Arpaio’s endeavors are taking away money which could be spent on other police activities.

    An extensive report was published in December 2, 2008 by the conservative think tank The Goldwater Institute is entitled: Mission Unaccomplished: The Misplaced Priorities of the Maricopa County Sheriff ’s Office.

    It is interesting how the analysis of a conservative think tank can show how poorly served the people of Maricopa County are served by a law enforcement official who enjoys such praise from the extremists on the right. Not only have the costs soared, but the violent crime rate has soared within the county areas in which the Sheriff’s Department is the primary law enforcement agency. The municipalities of Phoenix and Mesa have there own police forces and the crime rate within their jurisdictions have remained much lower.

    In The New York Times on January 5, 2009 David Carr reports how the sheriff has generated over 30 million dollars in settlements over the last 5 years from lawsuits brought by those detained in his facilities. But despite these problems in his office, he has decided to participate in a series for Fox Reality Channel in a show entitled “Smile … You’re Under Arrest.”

    The essential fact is that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the common adversary of human rights activists and traditional-old-school conservatives. The support he has, and the plurality of his electoral wins is simply and indication that people are ignorant and irrational. He has captured the national limelight because he appeals a vulgar component of the national psyche.

    He must be replaced in order for that community to have a rational discussion on its responsibilities regarding migrants and whether the issue should be one of its priorities.

    Frank — NYC

    1. Sheriff Joe Arpaio
      So, the polically correct lobby has gone into gear. Come on, let’s be honest… The majority of criminals (yep, criminals) in that jail are there for breaking the law, and many of them have committed horrendous crimes. In many jails, the politically correct movers have implemented comfortable prisons, which no poor person can ever aspire to, unless they become criminals themselves. So, let’s stop the kidding. I don’t believe in torture, but punishment, YES.

      1. But what if they aren’t violent criminals?
        Well you can’t write but maybe you can read.
        FTFA: “if they are suspected of being in the US without proper documents”

        Innocent until proven guilty? nah … not for Hispanics.

        > which no poor person can ever aspire to, unless they become criminals themselves.

        What better way to make criminals than to lock people who just wanted to work up with violent psychos? Prisons are one of the few growth industries right now, so maybe we should start locking up more people. 30 days for bad grammar! You certainly have the right to remain silent …

        > I don’t believe in torture, but punishment, YES.


        1. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is INHUMANE, SICK & WRONG EGOTIST.
          No sheriff or system should brag about putting anyone anywhere over 139 degrees or below zero. Guilty before proven innocent is his Motto. He is in so deep that the paper trail has his hands tied. His head is spinning as you can tell by his slummped shoulders, greaser hair and not a look in anyones eyes. HE IS GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY.

          ALISON A. HICKS


  2. If Obama really cared about illegal immigration
    If Obama really cared about illegal immigration, he would arrext Obama Hussein next time he came to Maricopa County for being an illegal Alien. He would make obama sit in pink underwear until Obama shows his birth certificate.

    of course, it would be easier to find weapons of mass destruction in Iran than Obama’s birth certificate.

    Are you a member of Cult Obama?


    1. If you really loved America…
      …you’d learn the English language. So “obama” doesn’t get capitalized, but “Alien” does. Why are all you America-first xenophobes illiterate?