Current Weather
The Spy FM

Ariz. Activists Rally For Votes Against Sheriff Arpaio

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 2, 2012

Testimony is scheduled to end Thursday in the racial-profiling suit against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff faces a class-action civil suit on behalf of Latino citizens and legal residents in Maricopa County.

The plaintiffs say deputies stopped and detained them because of the color of their skin. As lawyers fight Arpaio in the courtroom, activists outside are using the trial as a rallying point against the sheriff in his upcoming election.

‘Adios Arpaio’

Tomas Robles wears a white T-Shirt with a black and yellow rectangle on the front — kind of like a road-sign.

“It’s a shadow figurine of, basically, Joe Arpaio on his horse, running away. Because we’re coming for him and we’re gonna show him that we have power, and he can no longer attack our community,” he says.

Above the drawing are the words “Adios Arpaio,” the slogan for the campaign to register Latino voters. Robles is the campaign’s field director.

About 100 people gathered in the blazing heat in front of the federal courthouse in Phoenix Wednesday to announce more than 11,000 new Latino voters. Robles says volunteers are going door-to-door and to places where Hispanics shop, with a not-terribly-subtle pitch.

“The first thing we ask people is, ‘How do you feel about Arpaio?’ And if we hear that they’re not for the sheriff, we register them to vote,” he says.

The idea is to deny the sheriff a sixth term in office in November, even as he faces legal pressure in this civil trial and in another lawsuit brought by the Justice Department.

Swept Up In Coverage

It’s common wisdom that most Latinos in Maricopa County know someone stopped by sheriff’s deputies in crime-suppression sweeps or employer raids. If they don’t know someone personally, they’ve certainly heard the stories.

“It has widespread coverage,” says Valeria Fernandez, a freelance reporter for CNN-Espanol and La Opinion newspaper.

Like other media, Spanish-language outlets have been covering Arpaio since he began his illegal immigration raids five years ago. But Fernandez says the Spanish-language media has often gone a step further, finding and interviewing those stopped in the raids.

“I think it’s gotten contagious because we’re starting to see more and more stories in the mainstream media that have to do with the protagonists, you know, the people that are arrested, who they are,” she says.

Those are some of the same people who brought the current racial-profiling lawsuit. Over the past few days, Arpaio’s defense attorneys have been presenting deputies who dispute the plaintiff’s claims that they were stopped because their skin is brown.

Arpaio Supporters Stand Strong

The plaintiffs have to prove systematic racial profiling in the Sheriff’s Department before federal Judge Murray Snow will order the department to change its policies. That’s not to say that Arpaio will suffer politically even if he loses the trial.

Bill Hart, policy analyst for the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, says the sheriff’s supporters will stick by him regardless.

“Arpaio’s an example of somebody who has a very loyal following, and they’re older people, they’re very organized and they all vote,” he says.

Republican Arpaio has no challengers in the primary this month. He’s expected to face a Democrat and an Independent in November. Arpaio’s supporters are largely Republican and white. Right now at least, they are the largest voting bloc in Maricopa County. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

7PM to 8PM Folk Salad

Folk Salad

Folk Salad Hosts Richard Higgs and Scott Aycock play an eclectic mix of Folk, Singer/songwriter, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Red Dirt, and anything else we happen to like that week.

Listen Live Now!

8PM to 9PM For the Sake of the Song

For the Sake of the Song

Greg Johnson, owner of The Blue Door in Oklahoma City gathers the best Red Dirt musicians in the region for his show.

View the program guide!

9PM to 12AM SpyLab

SpyLab

Katie Wicks is our resident international superstar DJ. She hosts SpyLab, a dance mix show on Saturday nights and co-hosts the largest weekly dance party in OKC, Robotic Wednesdays. She has had two original dance songs chart in the World Top 100 Beatport charts. She has been hired to DJ in L.A., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center