Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s New Low

Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joseph M. “Joe” Arpaio outrages are a dime a dozen. But if reported accurately, here’s one for his greatest hits file:

The most recent atrocity committed by the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” involves a woman who was detained while 9-months pregnant. Alma Minerva Chacon’s case has been receiving media attention due to the brutality with which she was treated. The very same night of her arrest, Chacon went into labor and found herself afraid and alone, being rushed to a local hospital with her hands and legs chained in shackles.

Once she reached the hospital, nurses repeatedly begged the Sheriff’s staff to allow them to unchain the mother, but they refused and Chacon was forced to give birth while still shackled to the bed. At one point, the nurse asked for them to release her so that she could be escorted to the bathroom for a urinalysis, but even that request was denied. But the worst came once Chacon gave birth to her baby girl.

Still chained to the bed, Arpaio’s police staff refused to allow Chacon to hold her newborn baby and then warned her that if no one came to pick up the child within 72 hours, she would be turned over into state custody.

There’s a video interview with Chacon at the link. She was apparently detained on suspicion of being in the country illegally.

MORE: The Phoenix New Times has more details. Chacon had a warrant for $1,000 in traffic fines and a misdemeanor shoplifting charge pending against her, though neither was the reason she was pulled over.

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