Police arrested four demonstrators outside the Maricopa County Jail on Thursday during a protest against Sheriff Paul Penzone and his department's collaboration with federal immigration authorities.
The protesters, who planned to be arrested, were blocking the entrance of a parking garage. They linked their arms with PVC pipes draped with banners that read, "Take ICE out of jail."
The arrestees included Luke Black, 39; Ken Chapman, 42; Cynthia Díaz, 23; and Parris Wallace, 32. Sheriff's deputies booked all four into Maricopa County Jail for disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.
Roughly 150 protesters showed up for the demonstration, which was organized by the immigrant advocacy group Puente Human Rights Movement. They gathered at 4 p.m. outside the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department headquarters before marching to the Fourth Avenue Jail. Chants of "Si se puede!" and "Chinga la migra" (Fuck immigration authorities) echoed across the Fourth Avenue block between Madison and Jackson streets.
Frequent acts of civil disobedience marked the long reign of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. According to activists, Wednesday evening's action led to the first intentional arrests directed at Penzone.
The Democratic sheriff has taken steps to undo some of Arpaio's most controversial policies. He shut down the open-air jail known as Tent City, announced an end to "courtesy holds" of undocumented immigrants for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, (ICE), and threw out the pink underwear.
Activists say that's not enough. Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente Human Rights Movement, said they're ramping up the pressure on Penzone because ICE continues to have access to the jail and its inmates. Puente is asking for that relationship to end.
"Penzone hopefully got the message that we’re going to fight him like we fought Arpaio until he stops helping to deport our people,” said Garcia, who is running for the District 8 Phoenix City Council seat.
A range of nonprofits and advocacy groups were represented at the rally, including Planned Parenthood Arizona, Poder in Action, and Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA). Members of the national group Mijente, who are touring the country, also showed up in support.
Díaz, who was arrested on Wednesday, told Phoenix New Times that her mother was deported by ICE in 2011, though she eventually won an asylum case in 2014 and still lives in the United States. Díaz had launched a hunger strike to draw attention to her mother's arrest.
“I’m still continuing the fight for family reunification because my family was separated,” she said about an hour before her arrest.
The rally also drew about two dozen counter-protesters who support President Trump's hard-line immigration policies. Members of Patriot Movement Arizona, a right-wing group that often targets liberal activists, showed up with guns and taunted the protesters.
"Speaking English motherfuckers," shouted Hope Ruckus.
"Go back to Mexico," shouted Adam Rocha.
Lesa Antone, the founder of Patriot Movement Arizona, chanted "Build the wall" through a bullhorn. She declined to comment upon hearing the name of this publication, calling New Times a "leftist rag."
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