Sheriff Arpaio Forces Woman to Give Birth in Shackles

By Terry Keleher Dec 01, 2009

It’s hard to imagine how Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio could possibly stoop any lower in his zeal to arrest and humiliate people who are, or look like, immigrants, whether they have legal status or not. But Arpaio, who is clearly challenged in the department of human decency and dignity, is at it again. Telemundo 52, recently reported that Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio forced a pregnant Latina who went into labor while detained to give birth while shackled to the bed. After a reportedly brutal arrest, Alma Minerva Chacon, went into labor the same night of her arrest and was rushed to the hospital with her legs and hands chained. The self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” is notorious for his racial profiling and brutal treatment of immigrants, including instituting chain gangs for females and juveniles, the introduction of pink underwear for male inmates, the parading of people in shackles to a segregated "tent city" in the Arizona desert, surrounded by electric fences. It’s not real clear just who Arpaio thinks he’s protecting and serving when he denies a request from a hospital to unchain a mother during her delivery and prohibits her from holding her newborn baby. Gotta say, that’s mighty tough of you, Sheriff. Despite numerous complaints, public protests, lawsuits and criticism by human and civil rights organizations, Arpaio–who the New York Times editorial board calls “America’s Worst Sheriff”–isn’t letting up. If you’re moved to channel your outrage into action, you can sign the petition at to demand that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder initiate a U.S Justice Department investigation of Arpaio’s reprehensible tactics. While you’re at it, it’s also important to recognize that Arpaio is just an extreme case of a flawed national immigration policy—now occurring under the Obama Administration’s watch—which gives too much power and leeway to local law enforcement officials. You can let President Obama know that too many current immigration policies and practices are racist, inhumane and counterproductive.