Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio styles himself as the "toughest sheriff" in America, but you might have some other choice adjectives to apply to him; after all, this is the man who allegedly forced pregnant inmates to give birth in shackles and fed pre-trial detainees rotten food. But ol' Joe's hits (of awfulness) just keep on coming: he's decided to parade a female chain gang in front of the crowd and camera crews attending the MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix next month. Fun for the whole family:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's publicity stunt of choice for All-Star weekend: a female chain gang that probably will make a stop at Chase Field to pick up garbage as the national sporting press tries to cover a baseball game.
We spoke briefly to MCSO Lieutenant Justin Griffin this afternoon. As the former head of Arpaio's chain-gang unit, he says he can't reveal where the chain gang will go because if people knew, they could stash contraband in the area for inmates to retrieve…
His boss, however, decided to spill the beans….
"If [protesters] can be there, why can't my female chain gang be there as a public service?" Arpaio says.
The protestors Arpaio is referring to will be speaking out against Arizona's hugely controversial immigration law. The women — who are part of the only female chain gang in history — are all incarcerated on DUI charges and, over the standard striped uniforms, will be wearing pink shirts with messages about DUIs. Nothing like getting humiliated in front of thousands of people and national media outlets while serving your mandated sentence to really drive home that sense of worthlessness, right?
Here's the thing: it's probably embarrassing to be in a chain gang to begin with. I wouldn't know, I've never been in one, but I can only imagine it doesn't feel great. But sending a chain gang to a major event like this, to pick trash while wearing garish (I'm sure) t-shirts before a huge crowd, as if to maximize their shame and seemingly provide a perverse form of entertainment? Seems like the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.