Forget everything you've heard about the Justice Department lawsuit against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio for racial-discrimination claims, because there's an inmate who says "Joe Arpaio and stuff" saved the lives of all the "brothas" at the 4th Avenue Jail.
OK, don't actually forget everything you've heard about the lawsuit, it's just the sheriff's office releasing a recording of an inmate's phone call saying that "Joe Arpaio and stuff" saved the lives of African-American inmates.
Arpaio announced in late April that the 4th Avenue Jail was on lockdown, as he claimed the Mexican Mafia was "attempting to control" the jail.
The sheriff's office said the jail's intelligence unit had discovered Mexican Mafia "Chieftains" in the closed-custody unit were giving orders to all Hispanic inmates in the jail to refuse being housed with black inmates.
The so-called "Chieftains" had been "demanding" racial fights, the sheriff's office said, and detention officers who intervened have been threatened.
The jail was put on lockdown after a "large scale fight broke out between Hispanic and black inmates," the MCSO says.
Now the lockdown's been lifted, the sheriff's office announced yesterday, along with the release of the inmate's conversation.
As the inmate explains, "I guess one of the Mexican cartels or something like that over in Mexico -- one of the big wigs -- put a hit out on all of the niggas up in here."
Thus, "The Sheriff Joe Arpaio and stuff now locked us all down 24-[hour] restriction."
According to the inmate's recollection, "shit was about to pop off," so he was thankful the jail was locked down.
"It was a good thing for us brothas, you know," the inmate told a woman on the phone. "But it's sorry though, because we gotta be in our cell all day, you know? But it was a good thing he saved our life up in here."
The sheriff's office says the lockdown was lifted last week, but when officers noticed the inmates started grouping by race, the lockdown was back in place.
At least 150 inmates had to be moved as a result of the violence, according to MCSO.
The inmate's phone call can be heard below:
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