Despite protests and calls for him to apologize, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski defended himself on Tuesday for brokering a meeting between scores of Latino pastors and Sheriff Joe Arpaio just days before Arpaio's anti-immigrant raid on a Tempe apparel company, his 71st such operation to date.
In a statement posted to the City of Phoenix website, Nowakowski said he wanted to "foster a dialogue," so that the "healing can begin" between the sheriff and the Latino community.
"Though our views on this issue may be very different, I believe that we as people have more in common than we do differences," Nowakowski averred. "And differences of opinions do not necessarily make us enemies."
Also on Tuesday, civil rights leader Sal Reza of Tonatierra and the Barrio Defense Committees led a group of about 60 protesters in a rousing demonstration in front of City Hall, demanding that Nowakowski, who also serves as executive vice president of the Caesar Chavez Foundation, apologize to Arpaio's victims.
"We demand Councilman Nowakowski apologize to the families of incarcerated workers for his association with the worse child abuser in Maricopa County," read a statement from the BDCs. "We also ask Mr. Nowakowski to join the recall of Sheriff Joe Arpaio instead of aiding and abetting Arpaio's persecution of migrant workers."
Telemundo covered the demonstration, and included in its report a photo of Arpaio in the confab from last week, holding hands with one pastor as another prays over him.
Needless to say, Arpaio looks quite uncomfortable.
I wondered if Nowakowski supported the recall of Arpaio, as Reza and the CBDs demand, so I called him and asked him just that.
Nowakowski was noncommittal.