We got word from Devin Fleenor, a vocal anti-Arpaio activist, on Wednesday night that he planned to chain himself to the Fourth Avenue Jail during yesterday's SB 1070 protests with the hopes of being arrested.
As you'll see in some photos after the jump, Fleenor held true to his word. Sheriff's deputies, however, didn't hold up to their end of the bargain, and let Fleenor go scot-free -- after fumbling around with his handcuffs and letting him remain chained to the building for 45 minutes before using bolt-cutters to remove him.
"I'm not sure if they were just tired of arresting people," Fleenor tells New Times "[Arpaio] arrests people for clapping and singing -- and those are people who don't want to be arrested. That's why it was so strange they let me go."
Around 2 p.m. yesterday, Fleenor cuffed up to an officer-access-door on the north side of the jail. Within minutes, plainclothes detectives were standing around him trying to use their own handcuff keys to remove Fleenor from the building.
Fleenor was prepared, though.
"I put a epoxy in the key hole," he says. "They spent a few minutes trying to poke their key in random holes before they realized it wasn't gonna work."
Fleenor was shackled to the door for about 45 minutes before sheriff's deputies got bolt cutters to break the cuffs.
He says he did nothing to prevent the officers from cutting him free.
"It's way, way stupid to do anything that can be viewed as assaulting an officer," he says. " A felony is not I was going for."
After deputies removed him from the door, Fleenor was taken to an area where police had created what he calls a "buffer zone" between demonstrators and police. Then, deputies just let him go.
Fleenor says even though he wasn't taken into custody, the day, as a whole, was a success.
"We're trying to encourage people to become less complacent," he says. "If someone saw me chained to the jail and gets that message, I think it worked."
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