A sheriff on trial, accused of harassing some members of a minority community, will send armed volunteer posse members into 60 black churches Sunday in response to the racially motivated attack in South Carolina earlier this week.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who already is under federal supervision because of a ruling two years ago that his office racially profiled Hispanics in its traffic and immigration patrols, is scheduled to go to trial in August in a separate lawsuit alleging additional discrimination against Latinos.
He said the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, who describes himself as a Progressive Baptist preacher and civil-rights campaigner on his Facebook page, asked him to provide the protection because he was worried about problems with white supremacists in the area.
“I am the elected sheriff of this county. He asked me to help, and I’m going to help,” Arpaio said Friday.
Maupin said he wasn’t aware of any specific threats against churches within the county, the largest in Arizona, but he added that places of worship with black congregations often get hate mail.
“We do have a fear, a very real worry, that the incidents that occurred in Charleston can happen here in Phoenix,” Maupin said.
More than two years ago, Arpaio sent hundreds of posse volunteers to provide security outside of school grounds in wake of a shooting that left 26 people dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
SOURCE: EJ Montini
The Arizona Republic