Arpaio Gives Palin Pink Underwear as an Allusion to His Treatment of Immigrant Detainees
Today in news too bizarre to skip: Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who makes illegal immigrant detainees wear pink underwear as a humiliation tactic, gave Sarah Palin a pair of pink underwear last week to welcome her to Phoenix.
Arpaio became famous for his purposefully harsh treatment of illegal immigrants and his push for round up the undocumented in Maricopa County, Ariz., through controversial sweeps of immigrant-heavy neighborhoods. He likes to call himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” but others have compared him to Hitler and accused him of “treating people like circus animals.” Arpaio has a few tactics for doing this, including the clothing he issues to the detainees in his “Tent City”: black-and-white striped uniforms and pink underwear.
This type of treatment has earned him numerous condemnations from human rights groups. He also faces a Department of Justice investigation into alleged civil rights violations by his office and a lawsuit to hand over related documents. Arpaio’s office was accused in late September of misusing up to $80 million in taxpayer funds.
Meanwhile, Arpaio has upped his national profile by endorsing Tea Party candidates and appearing in campaign events. Although he said he plans to stay sheriff, there has been some talk of seeking higher offices — even the presidency. After Arpaio visited New Hampshire in September, his spokesman acknowledged, “People just don’t go to New Hampshire if they are not interested in these things.”