Event Offers Chance to Win Pink Prison Underwear Signed by Joe Arpaio

  • June 11, 2015

Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), the most active anti-immigrant group in the state, is advertising a June 27 “Grassroots Rally” in Salem, Oregon, that will feature Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio as the main speaker and a raffle that includes an autographed pair of the infamous pink prisoner underwear that Arpaio forces inmates in his county to wear.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The rally is reportedly being hosted by the Oregon Republican Party and will focus on immigration reform and Second Amendment rights. The choice of Arpaio, who is known for his hard stance on immigration, is indicative of the rally’s anti-immigration slant.

In May 2012, the Justice Department brought a federal lawsuit against Arpaio, asserting that there was a “pattern of unlawful discrimination” toward Latinos by law enforcement officials in Maricopa County. According to the lawsuit, Arpaio and his deputies carried out a campaign against Latinos, regardless of their status or citizenship.

In a separate case, a federal judge ruled in May 2013 that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engaged in racial profiling. That ruling stemmed from a 2007 class action suit by Latino drivers, who charged that were being unlawfully singled out for traffic stops based on their ethnicity.

The judge in the case ordered Arpaio to undergo training in racial profiling so that his officers would not single out Latinos during traffic and immigration stops. The judge also barred Arpaio’s immigration enforcement patrols. Arpaio has since allegedly violated the court order regarding the patrols and is now facing contempt charges.

Arpaio is also known for his policy of requiring Maricopa County inmates to wear pink underwear. In 2012, a federal appeals court in Arizona criticized this policy, saying it seemed to be “punishment without legal justification.” The court also said that it was fair to infer that the jailers’ choice of the color pink for the underwear was a way to stigmatize male prisoners as feminine. In an effort to offset the cost of the rally, a pair of “pink prisoner underwear,” autographed by Arpaio will be auctioned off at the event.

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