PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been denied a booth at an upcoming conference aimed to empower Latina women.
The Hispanic Women’s Corporation says the Sheriff's Office isn't welcome at their annual event to be held next week.
Arpaio had already paid $800 for a booth, but according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Hispanic Women’s Corporation called and said his application was declined. The $800 was refunded.
“Even if they don’t like this sheriff, why would they have to take it out on all my employees, including the 24 percent Hispanics that work here,” wondered Arpaio.
Approximately 850 Hispanics work for MCSO, including more than 300 women, according to the Sheriff.
“Now you got this Hispanic organization sending the money back when all we were trying to do is go there with our booth to relate to Hispanic women to try to recruit more, build it up to 35 percent,” said Arpaio.
The Sheriff's Office said it wanted to both recruit potential new employees and "promote a new culture" within MCSO, according to the Sheriff's Director of Community Outreach.
The Hispanic Women’s Corporation says it reserves the right to decline a vendor application "whose presence would be disruptive."
According to a press release from the organization, the decision was also based on a recent court ruling that MCSO engaged in racially profiling Latinos for years.
“The conference is about leading and inspiring Latina professionals,” said Leticia de la Vara. “Arpaio does not fit that mold, so it was a pretty easy decision on why we would go forward with that.”
De la Vara added that if Arpaio is trying to mend fences with the Hispanic community their convention isn’t the place to do it.
“He has built quite a big wall between us and his office because of the raids and the path he’s taken to approach how he’s going to work with the Hispanic community,” stated De La Vara.
MCSO last attended the conference in 2007.
The Hispanic Women’s Corporation says this year marked the first time MCSO applied to take part since 2007.
The conference is set for next Thursday and Friday at the Phoenix Convention Center.