Wilcox leads charge for Sheriff Arpaio to step down

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

PHOENIX - It was a contentious morning Wednesday as the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors was asked to place the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in federal receivership.

At issue is a recent audit that found the sheriff's office has spent nearly $100 million from the jail tax and inmate services fund.

During the public comment portion of the supervisors meeting, both opponents and supporters of Sheriff Joe Arpaio expressed frustration.

The anti-Arpaio faction is angry the board has failed to schedule a public hearing so that Arpaio can personally offer an explanation.

Several Arpaio supporters stormed out of the meeting, calling it a "circus." They were angry that they were not allowed to speak.

Also barred from speaking was state Rep. Ruben Gallego, who was late.

Board chairman Andy Kunasek said board rules prohibit additional speakers once public comment begins.

Kunasek stood firm in spite of requests from fellow supervisors Fulton Brock and Mary Rose Wilcox that the rules be waived.

Members of the crowd also began chanting, "Let him speak, let him speak."

After the board meeting, several community groups, along with Wilcox, held news conferences asking that Arpaio resign and MCSO be placed in federal receivership.