Protest Against Sheriff Joe Turns Violent
The AP via YellowBrix
January 18, 2010
“Most regrettably, a nearby 2-year-old child was hit by some of the pepper spray,” said Hill, adding that the Phoenix Fire Department was called to the scene to treat the girl. “I am told she was released and was expected to be OK.”
No one else was seriously injured, he said.
Phoenix police said Saturday night that five people were arrested during the protest and taken to Maricopa County Jail. Four were booked on suspicion of aggravated assault on police. The other faces disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Though the scene of the disturbance was cleared within minutes, the aftermath was chaotic. Protesters yelled obscenities at police officers in riot gear. One officer shook his pepper spray canister as he ordered people to keep moving. One protester wore goggles, and several others wrapped bandanas around their mouths.
Critics have accused deputies working in Arpaio’s immigration efforts of racial profiling, which the sheriff denies. He says his deputies approach people when they have probable cause to believe they had committed crimes.
Ten months ago, Arpaio learned he was under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged discrimination and unconstitutional searches. He says the investigation was prompted by his immigration efforts, although federal authorities haven’t provided details.
Since early 2008, Arpaio has run 13 immigration and crimes sweeps involving officers who flood a section of a city – in some cases heavily Latino areas – to seek out traffic violators and arrest other violators.
Arpaio’s power to make federal immigration arrests was stripped away three months ago by officials in Washington, but he continues his immigration efforts through the enforcement of two state laws.
A federal grand jury also is investigating Arpaio and his office on allegations of abusing his powers.
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