A group of about 20 protesters gathered in front of a Scottsdale bookstore Saturday to speak out against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's appearance, the third such protest in a week. Arpaio was at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Shea Blvd. to promote his latest book.
A group of about 20 protesters gathered in front of a Scottsdale bookstore Saturday to speak out against Sheriff Joe Arpaio's appearance, the third such protest in a week.
Arpaio was at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on Shea Blvd. to promote his latest book, "Joe's Law: America's Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America."
Outside, tempers flared in the sweltering heat.
The protest was orchestrated by a diverse group of men and women who referred to themselves as "concerned citizens."
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"We have a humanitarian crisis. People are dying crossing the desert. They do it because they have no choice. They need to feed their families," said Dennis Gilman, 50, of south Scottsdale, one of the organizers of Saturday's demonstration and also one of Arpaio's most outspoken critics.
Gilman accused Arpaio of "raiding communities for cooks, not crooks," and called him a "power-hungry man creating a climate of fear."
On Monday a coalition of more than 20 Christian leaders from across the state held a news conference to speak out against what they called hateful rhetoric surrounding immigration issues.
Then on Wednesday, a group called the Maricopa County Citizens for Safety and Accountability had 300 of its supporters turn out for a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting to demand more accountability regarding Sheriff Arpaio's actions.
Saturday's protesters criticized the sheriff's crime suppression sweeps and accused him of racial profiling.
Raquel Teran, project manager for the newly formed Maricopa County Citizens for Safety and Accountability said Saturday the protesters are there to let Arpaio know "we are here watching him and want to send a message we will not tolerate his intimidation of our community."
Meanwhile, at the signing, Arpaio distanced himself from his detractors, telling the audience of about 50, which included a few hecklers, he has "compassion for the Mexican people" and is enforcing the law.
He said his critics don't affect him.
What bothers him, though, is the use of his likeness next to the words "Hitler" or "KKK" on the protesters' signs.
"Kids should learn to respect law enforcement and shouldn't beat up police (with those signs) just because they don't like the way I enforce illegal immigration laws," Arpaio said. "If they don't like the way I do my job, get the laws changed."
JoAnne Collins, 63, of Fountain Hills, stood in line after the presentation to have the sheriff sign two copies of the book for her sons who are police officers in Ohio.
"The law is the law. If he was breaking it, it would be different. He doesn't have a choice," said Collins.
Hazel Barsamian, 70, of Scottsdale, who also waited to have Sheriff Arpaio sign his book, said people only hear the negative about Arpaio and not the good things he does.
"He is enforcing the law, until we as a community change the law" said Barsamian.