In the first of what the Puente Movement pledges to be bi-monthly rallies until the Sheriff is brought to justice, people rallied in Cesar Chavez Park across the street from the Wells Fargo Building that houses the offices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They marched to Arpaio’s 4th Avenue Jail, protesting the murder of Marty Atencio, a veteran suffering from a bipolar condition who was brutally attacked and beaten to death by Sheriff Arpaio’s guards and the Phoenix PD. This happened on December 15, less then 24 hours after Arpaio was served notice from the DOJ.
The Puente Movement has held rallies and marches against the Sheriff since February of 2009. Now, in the wake of the recent news of the 432 children of El Mirage who suffered sexual abuse without investigation due to the Sheriff’s neglect, the DOJ report that affirmed that Sheriff Arpaio’s office is the worst purveyor of racial profiling investigators have ever seen, and the recent jailhouse murder of Marty Atencio, the non-partisan organization is calling for the arrest of the Sheriff and calling for all the Sheriff’s supporters and collaborators to heed the moral responsibility to cut their ties.
Diana Perez of Puente announced, “In the face of such blatant injustice, we all have a moral responsibility to do whatever is in our power to stop Sheriff Arpaio’s abuses. To stand idly by is to be complicit in the suffering in Maricopa County and every county where Arizonification has turned public servants into political sadists like Arpaio.”
“Our children deserve to grow up without nightmares of Arpaio and his ski-masked sheriffs. Federal immigration programs in Maricopa County took Arpaio’s long track record of abuse and launched it to monstrous proportions,” explains Carlos Garcia of the Puente Movement. “Sheriffs are not above the law. Arpaio needs to be brought to justice for what he’s done to our communities.
Late last month, the Department of Justice closed it’s three year investigation into the Sheriff’s office prompting theDepartment of Homeland Security to cancel the Sheriff’s 287(g) and take over administration of the Secure Communities program.
In response to DHS’ move, Sandra Castro of Puente, commented, “Instead of breaking up with the Sheriff, the Obama administration moved in with him. The difference we witness is that now victims of Sheriff Arpaio’s racial profiling are screened by people wearing federal uniforms instead of County. Restoring justice in Maricopa County starts with bringing the Sheriff to justice but it doesn’t end until we address the programs that made his abuses possible.”
The Puente Movement issued the following demands which will be the centerpiece of on-going mobilizations they promise will focus not only on the Sheriff but also on Arpaio’s collaborators.
1. End Arpaio’s Access to ICE: The Maricopa County Sheriff Office’s access to immigration enforcement powers should be completely ended by President Obama and ICE.
2. Arrest Arpaio, Not The People: Joe Arpaio should face criminal charges for what he has done to our communities. Sheriffs are not above the law, and any criminal conduct by Joe Arpaio must be fully prosecuted.
3. Shutdown Tent City: The outdoor facility that Sheriff Arpaio once referred to as a “concentration camp” is one of the worst and most abusive jails in the country and should be closed.
4. End all aiding and abetting of Sheriff Arpaio: Faced with overwhelming evidence of his unlawful behavior, Sheriff JoeArpaio’s supporters have a moral obligation to sever their ties or otherwise be complicit in his human and civil rights abuses.
Those who wish to be involved can join the force to bring Arpaio to justice athttp://bit.ly/arpaioaz