4 foes of Arpaio arrested at supervisors meeting - East Valley Tribune: News

4 foes of Arpaio arrested at supervisors meeting

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Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:30 pm | Updated: 9:41 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

 Friction between Maricopa County government officials and a vocal coalition of activists who oppose Sheriff Joe Arpaio reached a new level when authorities arrested four people during a County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.

VIDEO: 4 arrested at supervisors meeting

Friction between Maricopa County government officials and a vocal coalition of activists who oppose Sheriff Joe Arpaio reached a new level when authorities arrested four people during a County Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday.

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Sheriff’s deputies and county Protective Service officers arrested two men and two women in the middle of the meeting when they stood and applauded a speaker who criticized Arpaio.

Joel Nelson, Jason Odhner, Monica Sanschafer and Kristy Theilen all were charged with suspicion of disorderly conduct and trespassing, said sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Brian Lee.

Odhner is a member of the anti-Arpaio group Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, said the group’s director Raquel Terán. Nelson, Sanschafer and Theilen are members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The trio frequently has participated with MCSA members during the group’s anti-Arpaio campaign.

The crackdown brought the anti-Arpaio activist arrest tally to nine in the past four months.

Four MCSA-affiliated people, including Sanschafer and Theilen, were arrested Monday for refusing to leave the lobby outside the 10th floor government office of Board of Supervisors Chairman Andy Kunasek, R-District 3. They were charged with suspicion of trespassing, Lee said.

In all, 20 people went to Kunasek’s office to request a meeting to discuss their concerns. Kunasek refused to meet with them and deputies ordered them to leave the lobby. Most left and deputies arrested the four who remained.

On Sept. 29, deputies arrested MCSA co-founder and organizer Randy Parrez outside a Board of Supervisors meeting on suspicion of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox of District 5, the lone Democrat on the board, said she thought Wednesday’s arrests were excessive.

“I’m going to talk to our security,” she said. “I know we have to have decorum, but I was very disturbed.”

Supervisor Max Wilson. R-District 4, declined comment on whether he was comfortable with the arrests. “I don’t tell the police how to do their job. I don’t instruct them to do it or when to do it. They’re professionals at it and that’s the way they handle it,” he said.

The other three board members ducked behind a line of deputies and security officers and left through a side door without taking questions from the media.

A double standard clearly was in effect during the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday. At one point, public-transit advocate Blue Crowley used part of his public-comment time allotment to sing a birthday song to Kunasek. Kunasek blushed and several people applauded, but none was ordered to leave or threatened with arrest.

However, Kunasek, deputies and security officers refused to tolerate applause after the anti-Arpaio speech minutes later.

Crowley, who sang the birthday song , called the arrests an abuse of power. “Some of the people that they arrested were walking toward an exit. ... Why they were arresting them, I felt was a total scam of what the system is,” Crowley said.

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