Commission demands Arpaio's resignation

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- For the first time, the City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission (HRC) voted to demand the resignation of a public official. Their target is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The HRC voted unanimously Monday night to demand Arpaio's resignation.  In its resolution, the group heavily cited a report from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).   DOJ investigators say they found evidence of misspending, racial profiling, and vindictive behavior within the MCSO.

"In 36 years here, I've never seen  a sheriff strike fear in a community like this," Human Relations Commission Chair Diane D'Angelo told the crowd.

Arpaio supporters challenged the commission's vote.

"This is political," Kelly Townsend said. "I'd hate for public safety to be compromised because of people on one side fighting with the other."

Several, including HRC members, pointed out the lack of authority of the volunteer board. The HRC has no power over elected officials, but makes recommendations to the full City Council.

"They have no authority over me," Arpaio said, downplaying the significance of the resolution.

Still, HRC members say they hope their actions have an effect on voters in the upcoming election.

Some at City Hall feared the vote would damage the working relationship between the city and the MCSO, particularly over their jail-sharing agreement.  Arpaio dismissed those concerns.

"I have a great relationship with the police and City Council," Arpaio said, promising no change in their inter-agency cooperation.