Notorious sheriff’s posse gets unruly as police watch and do nothing
By Miguel Cid
About four years ago when Joe Arpaio visited San Diego, his reputation and stance on immigration policy earned him a booing from protesters and residents in the county. In short, San Diego did not receive him with open arms.
Nearly a month after protesters blocked buses in Murrieta, approximately 10:30 on Saturday morning, July 26th, in Ramona, our carpool passed the Joe Arpaio meet up location of the Ramona Mainstage, and out of the crowd I spotted a face; a face that resembled a skin tone similar to mine.
The man wearing the face held up a sign that read, “We Support You Joe”. I instantly thought that the signage must have been referring to him and his family, because I know he being the only seemingly brown face lined up in support of Sheriff Joe, he could not be referring to the Latino community, and especially not the Chicano community in the surrounding areas.
After parking, and as we begin to walk closer to the Mainstage building, upon witnessing the number of Joe Arpaio supporters and followers (some most likely from out of town), I couldn’t help but to feel that our two cars deep, freshly painted signs in hand, were not going to make a dent in Joe’s ranks; or how Joe Arpaio likes to refer to his followers, his “posse”.
But as we approached, I began to see faces I recognized, and heard chants welcoming all those who were in opposition to the six-time elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona; and I positioned myself facing the “posse” and held my painting of Joe, high.
The sun shined, and the day progressed with the usual expected finger pointing and occasionally teeth gnashing between the opposing sides, until things got physical. A Joe supporter, wearing a U.S. military shirt, shoved a protester, and naturally tempers were elevated on both sides.
As a result, many people who were lined up in support of Joe began chanting “U.S.A., U.S.A.” Shortly after, Ramona’s ugly side showed more than its gnarled teeth once again, and Joe’s posse got even more rowdy and unruly.
As a young lady lead a chant over a microphone, another Joe supporter, who appeared to be in his sixties, approached the woman and began yelling at her, then yanking and tugging at the microphone, and eventually shoved the microphone in the woman’s face, resulting with the woman’s lip bleeding, and the man responsible, fleeing the scene.
The police officers that were on duty, who witnessed the incident, dropped the ball when asked for assistance from the assaulted party. One of the police officers who was asked for help responded with a dry, “We’re looking into it”; but never was there an attempt to apprehend or follow the man fleeing from the scene.
The protestors, along with myself, not feeling safe with the way security and police were “keeping the peace”, decided to leave after about an hour of the planned peaceful protest.
In my years of being active, I personally have not seen things get the way they were Saturday, in which police officers watched as my peers were physically assaulted directly in front of them, while they stood and did nothing.
Thankfully on that morning, protesters protesting Joe and the posse, educated on the importance of a peaceful protest, reacted with the non-violent route to keep each other safe; we regrouped and walked away. I was one of the few who left without Joe’s signature, pair of pink, signed underwear.
Miguel Alfredo Xicomoztoc Cid was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and currently resides in San Diego’s Barrio Logan. Brought up in a community of social and political activists and artists, he has always kept his eyes and ears open. He enjoys expressing himself through creation, and is currently focusing on poetry and creative writing.