Arpaio faces group of angry protesters

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by Frank Camacho

azfamily.com

Posted on March 2, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 2 at 7:40 PM

PHOENIX -- Critics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio marched on the U.S. attorney’s office in downtown Phoenix on Friday.

They had in hand a list of recommendations they say are needed to overhaul the department and bring it into compliance with the Constitution.

"If he insists on thumbing his nose on the Constitution and the federal government  there will be more litigation," said local civil rights attorney Antonio Bustamante.

Bustamante is a member of the Black-Brown Coalition formed after the Department of Justice released the findings of its investigation of the sheriff's department, which found widespread evidence of racial profiling and racism against Latinos.

Among the recommendations is that all deputies of every rank receive additional sensitivity training "to stop racial profiling, to stop discrimination and to stop doing stupid things like pulling over cars simply because are occupied by brown-faced people," Bustamante said.

Coalitlion members were gathered outside the sheriff's downtown Phoenix office when Arpaio walked by on his way to lunch.

"Good luck, let's see if they can prove it," Arpaio said. "That’s all I have to say. Same people wasting their time."

The Department of Justice is in negotiations with the sheriff's office in an attempt to fix the problems within the department. Coalition members are hoping their recommendations, which resulted from a community forum held earlier in the week, will be part of any agreement.

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox will hand deliver the recommendations to Department of Justice officials in Washington, D.C., next Monday.

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