Rage Against The Machine and One Day As A Lion frontman Zack De La Rocha was one of the leaders of a Phoenix, Ariz. protest against Maricopa County Sheriff (and DMX nemesis) Joe Arpaio and his enforcement of federal immigration laws against Latinos on Saturday.
“Without the proper warrants, he raids the homes and workplaces of janitors and gardeners,” De La Rocha told demonstrators at the end of the rally. “At routine traffic stops, he detains and deports mothers, violently separating them from their children, who are left abandoned.”
The controversial Arpaio was criticized after he recently invited the media to watch as he led undocumented Hispanic inmates who were shackled together by their hands and feet into the infamous Tent City prison, where detainees are forced to wear pink underwear and are subjected to Arizona’s sizzling summer heat.
The policies and practices of the 76-year-old Arpaio, who describes himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” have been criticized by Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Arizona Ecumenical Council, the American Jewish Committee and the Arizona chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, among others.
Arpaio’s alleged mis of prison inmates made him the target of 2,150 lawsuits in U.S. District Court and hundreds more in Maricopa County courts from 2004 through November 2007, 50 times as many prison-condition lawsuits as the New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston jail systems combined.
“I don’t know why they have to have signs calling me illiterate and a Nazi and every other name in the book,” Arpaio told the Los Angeles Times newspaper. “I’m not concerned about them or some elected officials, they all seem to be Democrats.
“Nothing changes. They are not going to deter me.”
De La Rocha performed a free show and addressed the issue of alleged racial profiling used against Latinos the night before the protest.