Earlier today Media Matters reported on the racially-charged banquet roast for Sheriff Joe Arpaio that concluded the February 22 Western Conservative Conference in Phoenix, AZ. Arpaio's operations are currently subject to a federally-appointed monitor due to his use of racial profiling tactics as sheriff.
Media Matters' Alexander Zaitchik wrote:
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne laid down the basic comic framework for his fellow roasters, totaling a dozen conservative dignitaries of local and national reputation. “Apologies to the Civic Center,” said Horne, “but half of the kitchen staff was arrested tonight upon arrival of Joe and his deputies. Because of a budget crunch, the sheriff's cutting way back. No more green baloney for prisoners -- just an extra beating at suppertime. Over the years, Joe's touched many people. We know because many are now pressing charges.”
Chuckling throughout Horne's routine on stage next to Arpaio was Russell Pearce, a recalled state senator with a documented fondness for neo-Nazi websites, and the primary architect of Arizona's controversial immigration bill S.B. 1070. Pearce smiled as his one-time ally in the 1070 fight, Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh, began his set asking, “How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here, Arpaio?” He later added, “All these years I figured he was rounding up Hispanics because you had a grudge from [fighting in] the Spanish-American War. But if you were in the Korean War, how come you're not rounding up Asians?” Kavanagh was doing a bit about the difficulties of dining out with Arpaio -- “When we go into a restaurant, most of the wait staff and cooks dive out the back window” -- when he spotted a passing waiter who appeared to be Hispanic holding a platter of stuffed chickens, and screamed, “There's a brave one! Get him!Sic 'em!”
The crowd roared; the waiter turned red.
Kavanaugh has since come under fire for his commentary during the roast about Latinos, Asians, and Muslims.
KFYI radio's Jim Sharpe was master of ceremonies for the event. Other roasters included Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent, actor Steven Seagal, and the current and past chairmen of the Arizona GOP. Here's the program for the roast, which describes Arpaio as “the light on the hill for other counties, states and countries to emulate” :
Here's the full audio of the event, which began with Frank Sinatra's “My Way” played over a video montage of Arpaio's career followed by nearly two hours of racist jokes and other hijinks: