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Controversial Arizona sheriff speaking in MV

Protesters planning demonstration at Joe Arpaio event on Tuesday

Despised by the left and loved by the right, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio is bringing his polarizing views to Mountain View for a talk at the Conservative Leadership Forum Tuesday evening.

Immigrant rights activists from the Peninsula and South Bay are planning to protest the talk by "America's toughest sheriff", says Maria Marroquin, director of Mountain View's Day Worker Center. Arpaio is set to appear at the IFES Portugese Hall at 432 Stierlin Road. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. for the 7 p.m. program.

There have been numerous charges against Arpaio by human and civil rights organizations for racially profiling Latinos and harsh treatment of prisoners. Yet he's been re-elected to his job as sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County a half dozen times, often taking advantage of controversy to make media appearances. At the start of the year Maricopa County was reportedly ordered by a U.S. District court judge to spend $22 million to retrain and monitor officers after it was found that Arpaio's department was guilty of racial profiling of Latinos in its controversial immigration patrols.

Arpaio says he's been successful in reducing crime and the event is billed as an opportunity to hear about his "successful strategies." Attendees can have a set of pink boxer shorts signed by him. The pink boxers, something inmates in his county are forced to wear, are something of an Arpaio trademark.

Marroquin says Arpaio uses his power to "humiliate" people, including those who have committed no crimes, yet sit in tent prisons in the Arizona heat or are detained for long periods when suspected to be undocumented immigrants.

"I have a strong feeling we don't share that vision of success," Marroquin said. "In this community we honor diversity and this is successful. We care about each other, we respect each other."

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