Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio offered Mary Rose Wilcox "extra security" at her upcoming immigration rally, in the form of armed posse members.
Seeing as Arpaio and Wilcox have been feuding about as long as the Hatfields and McCoys, Wilcox was quick to reject the offer, saying it "reeks of an attempt to intimidate those of us who support immigration reform."
Indeed the offer was essentially made through the press, and the Sheriff's Office included a flyer for Wilcox's event, which includes an endorsement of Wilcox's congressional campaign from Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who's expected to attend Friday's rally in Laveen:
"Mary Rose Wilcox had the guts to take on Sheriff Joe when other people kept quiet . . . "
Arpaio's office issued a press release offering the "extra security" to Wilcox, along with a formal letter to Wilcox with the offer -- a letter that was dated yesterday.
According to the press release from Arpaio's office:
Sheriff Arpaio's letter to Mrs. Wilcox references his pledge in January 2011, in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Tucson that severely injured congresswoman Gabby Giffords and took the lives of several others, that he would offer extra security in the form of armed posse volunteers to public office holders conducting public meetings.
Yet, we can't remember a single press release between January 2011 and now in which Arpaio offered "extra security" to a politician.
"I am very serious about protecting our public officials," Arpaio says in his press release. "Also, my goal is to preserve the peace, maintain order and enforce all the laws."
Of course, in the Arpaio Thesaurus, enforce all the laws is a classic term meaning arresting legal and/or illegal immigrants. (Recall that Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, the namesake of the Melendres v. Arpaio lawsuit, was in the country legally when he was arrested by MCSO and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which eventually released him.)
As you can imagine, the last thing on earth Wilcox would do is respond with thanks for Arpaio. She issued the following statement in response:
"If Sheriff Joe were honestly interested in providing security to our town hall on Friday in support of immigration reform, he would not have made his offer through the press. He also would not have offered to send his armed civilian posse. Unfortunately, we've seen this move before. His 'offer' reeks of an attempt to intimidate those of us who support immigration reform. It has been well-documented that the Sheriff's posse includes those with criminal records. Sheriff Arpaio's views against immigration reform are also well-known."
You can read Arpaio's letter to Wilcox below:
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