Huffpost Politics

Protesters Take On America's Toughest Sheriff (VIDEO)

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On Saturday, thousands of protesters walked the streets of Phoenix to air their displeasure with America's toughest sheriff, whose crackdown on the city's immigrant population has won him consistently high approval ratings from his constituents in Maricopa County.

The anger of local residents came across in one image that depicted Sheriff Joe in a white Ku Klux Klan robe. Latino protesters held signs stating, "We Are Humans," while the most popular sign read, "Stop Racial Profiling NOW!" Supporters of the sheriff took up residence on two street corners and held signs that read, "We Support Joe," as protesters walked by.

In mid-February, Democrats in Congress, including Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called for an investigation into Sheriff Arpaio's activities around immigrant arrests due to allegations of racial profiling and other civil rights abuses.

The Huffington Post received exclusive video of the protest from Amie Williams at Bal Maiden Films

Arpaio has also been denounced for using volunteer "chain gangs" and housing inmates in tent cities. These severe tactics led Fox to give Arpaio his own reality show entitled, "Smile... You're Under Arrest!"

The backbone of Sheriff Arpaio's vast influence stems from an agreement between the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The 287(g) provision allows federally-trained and supervised state and local law enforcement officials to investigate, apprehend, transport, and detain people who are living and working in the country without authorization. Protesters hope their demonstration will lead to further investigations into alleged crimes committed under the 287(g) provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Filed by Matthew Palevsky
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