Phoenix Sheriff Deputies Allegedly Attack Day Labor Leader
For years, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has used his 900 member strong sheriff’s office to attack political opponents and others upon which he has declared war. One of his most bitter enemies is Day Labor leader, Salvador Reza.
On July 30th, Reza was attacked without provocation by several sheriff’s officers during an Arpaio press conference outside of his private prison in Phoenix called “tent city” because inmates, mostly Latino migrant workers, are held in tents in the 140 degree desert heat.
An act of peaceful civil disobedience had just occurred at the prison when activists blocked a Maricopa County battalion of sheriff’s officers heading out on raids of Latino barrios. All of the protesters were arrested. Arpaio has stated he will enforce the spirit of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) by sending hundreds of officers into poor Latino barrios even though enforcement of vital provisions of SB 1070 were stricken down as unconstitutional or enjoined from enforcement pending further hearings.
Reza was observing the arrests as he stood across a busy four lane highway from Tent City. Reports vary, some say Arpaio gestured to his officers who crossed the street and swarmed the charismatic Reza. Others say Arpaio was ignorant of the arrest, an unlikely scenario considering the Arpaio grip of steel over his commanders. TV crews were on site and recorded portions of the arrest, as well.
Chris Newman, an attorney for the National Day Labor Organizing Network who works closely with Reza witnessed the event, according to a blog in the Phoenix Sun Times. Newman was temporarily detained by Arpaio Sheriff’s officers “because he was interfering with their daily duties”.Continued on the next page