Demonstrators Call on Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Resign
A demonstration against the Maricopa County sheriff had the 4th Avenue Jail in lock down mode for hours Friday. Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the last thing he wanted was riot activity inside the maximum security facility.
This, as hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the sheriff’s office, calling for the immediate resignation of Sheriff Arpaio. The rally was spearheaded by the Puente Human Rights Movement and National Netroots Nation in an effort to call attention to what they say are racist deportation acts, scrutiny by the sheriff and ICE agents inside the jail.
“I think he’s racially profiling everyone; he’s sending people down a deportation machine and there’s no reason for there to be agents there anymore,” Francisca Porchas with Puente Arizona.
The sheriff fired back, saying “I’m not going to kick those ICE agents out. We started that program in 2007. One million people have come through our jail, and over 80,000 have been turned over to ICE.”
It's a trend the sheriff fully anticipates to continue. He says his immigration efforts are keeping crime rates down and community members safe.
Meantime, as demonstrators made their way through the streets of downtown Phoenix, the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad responded to reports of a suspicious device. There were two bottles wrapped in tape discovered next to a gas line on the east side of the jail.
Rally-goers denied responsibility for the device. “We've never engaged in any type of violence or making bottles. There were also some anti-immigrant protesters; I hope this isn't something that were being blamed for,” Porchas said.
The suspicious bottles turned out to be nothing and the sheriff thanked the demonstrators for being peaceful Friday. Puente Arizona members says they are actively seeking Arpaio’s resignation and are asking The Department of Justice to investigate why ICE agents are inside the 4th Ave. Jail.