Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 26, 2011

Arizona: Living and dying 'Under Arpaio'

Living and dying under Arpaio
Censored News

TUCSON: Pan Left members Jason Michael Aragón and Mary Charlotte Thurtle have produced the documentary Under Arpaio that deals with the effect Sheriff Joe Arpaio has on Maricopa County, Arizona and the nation.
Under Arpaio
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has captured national attention in the press as the "Toughest Sheriff in America" for his Wild West persona, tough on crime stance, unorthodox law enforcement methods and an anti-immigrant posture. He has become famous in the media through antics such as forcing inmates to wear pink underwear, work on chain gangs, and live in tents. Lawsuits, racial profiling, corruption, wasted taxes, and civil rights investigations have become the norm for the Phoenix area due to Arpaio's methods. Under Arpaio is a documentary film that explores what it is really like for people in Arizona to live -and die, under Joe Arpaio.
Within this atmosphere of tension, Arizona has recently passed the law SB1070- the "papers please" policy- where anyone with brown skin becomes a target. However, before SB1070, Arpaio was enforcing immigration law by leading heavily armed raids against Latino communities in neighborhoods, fast food restaurants, elementary schools and low-income areas. At the same time that the Federal Government publicly sued Arizona over SB1070, the 287g program between Homeland Security and Arpaio had already been established years earlier which sanctioned the Sheriff's immigration enforcement activities and had become a spectacle toured rampant allegations of racial profiling.

The people of Arizona have had enough. There are those dedicated to raising awareness and ending the injustices. People such as, Michael Manning, a Phoenix area lawyer who successfully sued Arpaio five times for human rights violations in Arpaio's jails. Ryan Gabrielson, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who uncovered how Arpaio's tactics left neighborhoods unprotected from violent crime. Residents like Anderw Sanchez of the Yaqui town of Guadalupe and activists like Salvador Reza from Phoenix group Puente Movement who serve the communities Arpaio terrorizes by organizing people to the streets and documenting Arpaio's abuses along the way. Women like County Board Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox who is a staunch critic of Arpaio and has been under threat of sheriff harassment, or activist Sandra Castro who dedicates her student life to organizing people to fight against the abuse. These and others from the Maricopa County area are highlighted and reveal the struggle to bring back humanity to their communities against a Sheriff that resembles more of an outlaw as the days go by in Arizona.

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