Handcuffed Joe Arpaio inflatable used to pit voters against incumbent Maricopa County Sheriff

The larger-than-life caricature of the Maricopa County Sheriff featured a prison jumpsuit and sheriff's star

Complete with a jumpsuit and cuffed hands, an inflatable Sheriff Joe Arpaio towered over students on ASU’s Tempe campus Thursday.

The inflatable figure was on campus as part of a collaboration between the anti-Arpaio campaign Bazta Arpiao, which roughly translates to "enough Arpaio," and MEChA de ASU, a Chicanx political activist organization.

Film and media production junior Marylyn Aguilar, a co-chair for the organization, was among a group of students manning a table under the-larger-than life caricature. She and other students passed out flyers, talking to people as they walked by.

"I feel that the Bazta Arpaio Campaign is a chance to get people educated on what kind of person Sheriff Joe Arpaio truly is and kicking him out of power," Aguilar said "The campaign is also letting the community know that their votes and voices matter."

Fellow MEChA member Sandra Cornejo said that voters should look at the incumbent Sheriff's history.

“He is very big on racially profiling people,” Cornejo said. “In his own words, tent city is his own concentration camp, which pretty much says it all.”

The flyers they passed out featured Arpaio alongside Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. This is one of the key factors Cornejo hopes will leverage voters on Election Day.

“He uses our tax money for ridiculous stuff," she said. "For example, investigating president Obama’s birth certificate. I wouldn’t want my tax money spent on that.”

Although Trump admitted Obama was in fact born in the U.S., Arpaio vowed to continue his investigation.

Ernesto Lopez, the lead organizer for Bazta Arpaio, said the inflatable figure was on campus as a symbol of Arpaio's hypocrisy.

“It’s a symbol that is to remind people that he talks about criminals (and is) hard on crime, while he’s actually a criminal himself,” Lopez said. “He’s violated multiple laws many times, so we’re trying to remind people of that so they can hopefully get out and vote against him.”

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," has spent much of his public life embroiled in controversy.

Arpaio is currently awaiting a court date to decide whether he will be charged with criminal contempt. According to CNN, he faces this charge after failing to follow court orders designed to prevent institutional racial profiling.

ASU and the Campaign to Reelect Joe Arpaio were not immediately available for comment.

Lopez said a protest is planned for Arpaio's next court date, and said that he expects Arpaio to go to prison if prosecuted.

“Some of the organizations we work for are going to be protesting outside the court on Oct. 11 to make sure that Loretta Lynch actually prosecutes him,” he said. “Judge Snow actually recommended that he be prosecuted for criminal contempt, now we are just waiting on Loretta Lynch to actually follow through.”


Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacwindeschef on Twitter.

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