Phoenix ACLU Legal Department head arrested

Daniel Pochoda, head of the Arizona ACLU's Legal Department, was arrested for misdemeanor trespass over the weekend by deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department, headed by the legendary Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Pochoda, 65 years old and a Harvard Law School graduate, was taken away in handcuffs around 1 PM Saturday, and released on bail just after midnight Sunday morning. He says this is his first arrest. Pochoda vows to hire criminal defense counsel and fight the charges.

Pochoda claims he was present at a demonstration in order to observe the interactions between law enforcement and demonstrators, and was arrested only after he identified himself as an official from the ACLU.
"Nothing unlawful occurred on my part, but that was not the story that was told," said Pochoda, of Phoenix.

"It was not deliberate. It was not provoked or wanted. The arrests and handcuffs came after I identified myself with the ACLU and gave the two sheriff's deputies my card as the legal director."
Daniel Pochoda mug shot

Phoenix ACLU officer Daniel Pochoda

report has a slightly different take:
Pochoda, 65, was arrested and taken away in handcuffs to Maricopa County's Fourth Avenue Jail after off-duty deputies hired by store owners asked him six times to move his car off the parking lot, said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio,

"I hear he was trying to debate, and then wouldn't stop. It was a person who (was) asked to move six times. He did not get off the premises," Arpaio said.
The demonstration was held at Pruitt's Furniture, an east Phoenix store where day laborers apparently had made a custom of gathering to wait for potential employers to pick them up. Pruitt's had hired off-duty Sheriff's deputies based on its belief that the day laborers were harming its business.

The Arizona Republic reports:  
Saturday's protests were part of a series of rallies staged by activists and day laborers to oppose the arrests of undocumented workers by sheriff's deputies. Several dozen day laborers have been arrested by federally trained sheriff's deputies over recent months, which has amplified migrants' fears of deportation.

The ACLU, which has had a contentious relationship with the Sheriff's Office over the years, has said that the sheriff is misapplying a state law aimed at punishing those who smuggle immigrants into the U.S. The Sheriff's Office is arresting immigrants under the law, saying they conspired to smuggle themselves into the country.
Sheriff Joe is not intimidated by criticism or the threat of lawsuits:
"I'm not their favorite guy," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "They've sued me. I think this guy (Pochoda) is involved in a lawsuit against me. You think that's going to bother me?"

Bystanders came by to shake the sheriff's hand. One woman told Arpaio, "You kick butt."

"It's a disgrace that private businesses can be intimidated by activists that don't like the immigration laws that this sheriff is enforcing," Arpaio said.
Hat tips: Stop the ACLU and Larwyn
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