In a fundraising email to supporters, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he "could lose" if faced with a recall election.
"The fight to recall me in Arizona is gaining steam and I'm afraid if we don't fight back hard right now... I could lose," Arpaio wrote in an email Sunday.
The AP reports that recall organizers say they've gathered 150,000 of the 335,000 signatures required by May 30 to bring on a recall election, despite facing fundraising difficulties.
The group, a political committee called Respect Arizona, began efforts to recall Arpaio in January 2013. HuffPost reports some leaders of Respect Arizona also helped unseat former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce in 2011.
Read the full text of Arpaio's fundraising email below:
I normally do not write you emails this personal -- but today I'm making an exception.
My friend, we are in trouble.
I spent my entire life fighting for what is right and the rule of law. I have fought against Mexican Drug Cartels who have threatened my life and my family. I have fought against a corrupt Department of Justice who is more interested in scoring political points than enforcing the law. I have fought against President Obama who doesn't have the first clue on how to secure our borders or protect our citizens.
Today, it feels like I'm fighting them all at the same time and more.
And while I will never give up the fight for justice and to protect American citizens... I can't continue to fight without your immediate help.
So before you read any further, I hope you will click on this link I asked my staff to give me and make a personal gift -- a sacrifice -- to help me today.
Let me briefly explain a little more:
The fight to recall me in Arizona is gaining steam and I'm afraid if we don't fight back hard right now... I could lose.
In fact the headline in the local AZ paper just a few days ago read, "Arpaio Recall Off to an Impressive Start."
That's because just days ago the group fighting to recall me announced they have gathered over 120,000 signatures to recall me from office.
I can't begin to tell you how bad it will be if we lose...
>>> Mexican Cartels will be the winner as they have been gunning for me for years.
>>> President Obama will be a winner as he has personally targeted me to destroy me.
>>> Drug smugglers will be the winner because they know I will NEVER look the other way when they break the law.
>>> The Obama Department of Justice will be the winner as they have failed with their trumped up "discrimination" charges against me.
>>> Open Border Liberals will be the winner as they want nothing more than to get rid of a tough Arizona Sheriff that will never back down.
But I'm less concerned about who will win... than who will lose... the losers will be:
>>> The single mother who can't protect her children from a rampant drug culture.
>>> The southern Arizona rancher who will have to fight on his own against illegals crossing his land.
>>> The grandmother whose grandson can't go to school without being confronted by drug pushers.
>>> The mother of a child who is killed by a Drug dealer that I wasn't able to keep in jail because I have been recalled.
>>> The family who cannot sleep at night with worry that their child will be kidnapped from the streets of Phoenix.
>>> The small business owner who has to move his business because illegals have control over his neighborhood.
My friend, as I wrote above... we are in trouble.
I have never written a more personal note for help before and I don't know that I ever will again. And I hope after reading my email you will decide to help me fight back by going to this link and making the most generous contribution you can to help me fight back.
I'm going to fight back with -- or without -- your help. The only difference is: will I have the necessary resources to fight or will I be over-run by an avalanche of opposition?
It's up to you.
Please send help if you can.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County, Arizona
Also on HuffPost:
Maricopa County Employees Call Latinos Derogatory Names
Jail employees frequently refer to Latinos as "wetbacks," "Mexican bitches," and "stupid Mexicans," according to the lawsuit. An email that included a photography of a Chihahua dressed in swimming gear with the caption "A Rare Photo of a Mexican Navy Seal" was widely distributed by sheriff's office supervisors.
Officers Mistreat Latinos In Routine Traffic Enforcement
The lawsuit recounts how a Latina woman who was five-months pregnant and a U.S. citizen was stopped as she pulled into the driveway. "After she exited her car, the officer then insisted that she sit on the hood of the car. When she refused, the officer grabbed her arms, puled them behind her back, and slammed her, stomach first, into the vehicle three times. He then dragged her to the patrol car and shoved her into the backseat," reads the complaint. She was cited for failure to provide identification, which was later changed to failure to provide proof of insurance. The issue was resolved when the woman proved she had insurance to a court. In yet another case, two officers followed a Latina U.S. citizen a quarter of a mile to her home without flashing their lights. When she arrived home, they insisted that she stay in the car. The reason for the stop was a "non-functioning license plate light." After she tried to enter her home, officers took her to the ground, kneed her in the back and handcuffed her. She was brought to a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) substation and cited for "disorderly conduct," which was later dismissed, according to the lawsuit.
Latinos Are Indiscriminately Detained In Immigration Raids
A Latina born in the United States was taken into custody for four hours in a raid to determine her immigration status. Arpaio was quoted in response, "That's just normal police work. You sometimes take people in for probable cause for questioning and they're released." The suit notes that the reason for her detainment -- being Latina and present during a raid -- were insufficient.
Arpaio And MCSO Staff Foster Discrimination Against Latinos
Arpaio received a letter reading, "If you have dark skin, then you have dark skin. Unfortunately, that is the look of the Mexican illegals who are here illegally. ... I'm begging you to come over ... and round them all up." The sheriff labeled this as "intelligence" and forwarded to his deputy chief of enforcement operations for someone to "handle this." Upon receiving a letter backing the policy of "stopping Mexicans to make sure they are legal," he sent a letter of appreciation to the authors and kept three copies for himself, according to the lawsuit. An email circulated among MCSO staff had an image of a fake driver's license from "Mexifornia" and listed the driver's class as "illegal alien."
MCSO Employees Fail To Provide Assistance To Prisoners With Limited English
The failure to provide adequate language assistance caused some female Latina prisoners to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation, alleges the suit. Others have allegedly been put in solitary confinement for "extended periods of time" for not understanding a command in English.
MCSO Arrests Arpaio Critics Expressing Their First Amendment Rights
The suit claims on multiple occasions that people were arrested for merely applauding against the office's immigration policies. The judge presiding over the case of the arrestees found that the deputy who made the arrest "believes it is his role to make uncomfortable anyone who express[es] views that disagree with the sheriff" and that he had "trampled" over the First Amendment. The court acquitted them.