Black Arizona churches reject racial profiling sheriff Joe Arpaio's armed posses
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses the media about a simulated school shooting in Fountain Hills, Arizona, February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Darryl Webb

Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County sheriff infamous for racial profiling, is sending an armed posse of volunteers into black churches for the nominal purpose of protection. Many are not pleased.


Arpaio was asked for the protection by Baptist preacher Rev. Jarrett Maupin on Friday after a gunman killed nine in a racist attack on Charleston's landmark Emanuel AME. But the request was quickly condemned by other black church leaders, who said Maupin doesn't represent the community.

"[H]is partnership with Sheriff Arpaio is an affront to all who oppose civil-rights violations," reverends Reginald Walton and Warren Stewart Jr. and Angeles Maldonado said in a statement, reported by the Arizona Republic. "The Maricopa County sheriff has been adjudicated as a racial profiler. He is the last person we would look to for help."

Two years ago, a judge ruled in a class action lawsuit that Arpaio "had systematically racially profiled Latinos in regular traffic and immigration patrols," resulting in a series of court-ordered changes that are costing taxpayers millions, reports Fox News Latino.

Arpaio has also been heavily criticized for Tent City Jail, an open-air jail that houses inmates who are either awaiting court hearings but have not been convicted, or those serving short sentences for minor offenses. Temperatures inside tents in the desert can reach a sweltering 125 degrees, ABC News reports. Inmates had been forced to wear pink underwear, but a judge stopped that, saying it was "punishment without legal justification."

A local journalist suspected both Arpaio and Maupin are seeking the spotlight more than they are thinking of the community.

"I'd like to believe that everyone's motives in this are altruistic, but... There is a history of seeking publicity with these two," writes AJ Montini in an op-ed for the Arizona Republic.

Walton, Stewart and Maldonado had a similar suspicion.

"We will not be silent shills for publicity seekers. We are here to promote peace, prosperity and civil rights for all," they stated.

But "like it or not," the churches will get the armed protection, USA Today reports.

Watch the USA Today report here: