How emboldened Arizona Latinos took down Sheriff Joe Arpaio
A former Arizona sheriff drew national attention for his exorbitant immigration enforcement antics that eventually brought a federal probe. A new book details how Latino activists brought him down.
Why it matters: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's headline-grabbing stunts, like forcing prisoners to wear pink underwear, slowly galvanized a Latino electorate that ousted him and turned Arizona blue.
Details: Investigative journalists Terry Greene Sterling and Jude Joffe-Block detail the rise and fall of the lawman, once a hero for the right, in "Driving While Brown: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Versus the Latino Resistance."
- As sheriff of Arizona's most populous county, the son of a working-class Italian immigrant transformed into one of the nation's most ruthless anti-immigrant crusaders amid a rise in migration from Mexico.
- A former DEA agent, Arpaio served as sheriff from 1993 to 2016 and was accused of racially profiling Latino motorists, jailing political enemies and harassing critics, including journalists.
- Arpaio's actions targeting Latino immigrants were often compared to racist Alabama lawman Bull Connor, who fought against civil rights.
The intrigue: As Arpaio rose, Latino activists like Lydia Guzman slowly responded to his policies that had sparked fear around Phoenix in the mid-200os, the authors point out.
- Immigrants hid in water tanks to avoid aggressive deputies, held hunger strikes in jails, and staged protests outside of Apario's scorching hot Tent City, where he held Latino detainees.
- The authors show how that activism led to the landmark racial-profiling lawsuit that exposed more details of Arpaio's behavior and a surge in Latinos registering to vote in southern Arizona.
Arpaio was defeated in 2016 by a coalition of Latinos, Native Americans, progressive white voters and moderate conservatives.
- A year later, he was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to obey a federal judge's order to stop traffic officers from racially profiling suspected undocumented immigrants.
- President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio before his sentencing.
Don't forget: Taxpayers are still paying to settle a racial-profiling lawsuit from Arpaio's immigration patrols in metro Phoenix a decade ago.
- Associated Press reporter Jacques Billeaud recently found that the cost is expected to reach $202 million by summer 2022.