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Arrested Anti-Arpaio Agenda Protestors Settle for $500,000

On July 8, 2010, a group of seven activists who were arrested or cited by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) settled their individual suits for wrongful arrest and malicious prosecution for a total of $500,000.

The arrests and citations occurred during two separate meetings of the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, Arizona. Four women were arrested for putting on dog and cat masks to protest the fact that their attempt to get Sheriff Joe Arpaio's misplaced priorities placed on the agenda had failed, but the county "Pet of the Month" was placed on the agenda.

In the second incident, four members of ACORN were arrested and spent 10 to 12 hours in jail for politely clapping after statements were made by members of the public at another board meeting. Two of the people were arrested in both cases and one person was cited for clapping instead of being arrested.

Two different judges threw out the charges of disorderly conduct when videotaped board sessions showed that extended and disruptive standing, clapping and catcalls in favor of Arpaio's immigration policies at another board meeting was tolerated, but the brief, polite applause for statements critical of Arpaio at another meeting resulted in the arrests and citation. In throwing out the charges, one judge noted that one defendant's depiction of Deputy Acritelli as a fascist caught on the tape was more accurate than the deputy's depiction of her as disrupting the meeting.

That judge awarded the defendant’s attorney fees and certified in the minutes that the prosecution was malicious and without probable cause.

See: State v. Nelson; State v. Sandschafer; State v. Teran, Encanto Justice Court, No. JCL009-117320, No. JC2009-117320001, No. JC2009-180900.

Additional Source: Phoenix New Times.

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Related legal case

State v. Nelson, et. al.