Sheriff Joe visits Tucson, clashes with occupiers

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The self proclaimed Toughest Sheriff in America came to Tucson Wednesday.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in Tucson to endorse Adam Kwasman for State Rep.

But the news conference took a turn for the unusual when Occupy Tucson showed up.

"I don't think I'm welcome much in Tucson," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

But that didn't stop Sheriff Joe from coming into town.  He was here to endorse Adam Kwasman,  an outspoken conservative running for Representative.

"I'm here to tell them I'll stand solder to shoulder with Joe," said Kwasman.

But anywhere Arpaio goes. He becomes the focus. Not scared to talk tough and take shots at Pima County on illegal immigration.

"I don't know how he got to Pima County, but it's OK because we lock them up when they get to Maricopa County," said Arpaio.

And when he hears protesters.

"I'm going to talk to demonstrators," said Arpaio.

He walks over and challenges them face to face.

"You don't have guts to take your mask off," said Arpaio to a protester.

A handful of Occupy Tucson protesters told the sheriff exactly what they think about him and what he represents.

"He's a symbol of our corporate influence in our politics," said Jonah Clarke from Occupy Tucson.

"This is a great story. You have Occupy Tucson going against the sheriff of Maricopa County," said Arpaio.

"It's the right to freedom of speech without being beaten, without being tear gassed," said a protester.

Occupy Tucson accused Arpaio of aggressive tactics on Occupy Phoenix and the sheriff fired back, "Tell Occupy Phoenix they're in front of my Wells Fargo building all day."

Protesters say they know Sheriff Joe will be Sheriff Joe.

"I think he has no idea what we're about," said Clarke said.

But at least they got their point across.

"They're not going to stop me from doing my job.  I'm the sheriff of Maricopa County," said Arpaio.

Arpaio says he was disappointed by the recall of Senate President Russell Pearce.

But he says that's why he's interested in endorsing these new conservative candidates.