Arrested activist thinks he was targeted by ArpaioPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- An activist arrested outside Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting is facing disorderly conduct charges after he refused an officer's orders to leave the property.
That activist thinks he was targeted by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and members of the board.
In June, a group asked to be put on the board's agenda to talk about their concerns over Arpaio's immigration sweeps. But after about four months, that group still has not been allowed to speak.
On Monday, the Maricopa County Citizens for Safety and Accountability members again were not allowed to speak at the supervisors' meeting.
One of the group's leaders, Randy Parraz, and other members were told to leave the meeting.
Once he was outside, Parraz figured he was in a public place, but deputies arrested him for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
Parraz and others think he was targeted by Arpaio and board members because the sheriff has influence over the board.
Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said some of board members have said the group members don't deserve to be heard.
"I think I urge all my colleagues let a group be heard," Wilcox said. "If a group came from any place in this county, they deserve the right to be heard."
"I think it definitely shows a pattern of what this sheriff has done when people speak out about his practice and policies," Parraz said. "So I definitely think this is a political arrest. It had nothing to do with serious violations of the law."
Arpaio denies any political motivation whatsoever. He notes Parraz's track record.
"Mr. Parraz has been disruptive before in the Board of Supervisors meetings," Arpaio said. "He fully understands that we should not have disruption in that board meeting and action was taken."
Other group members said they were also detained after the meeting after they were told to leave, but they were not arrested.
Parraz's attorney said they are considering legal action.