Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz. has punished 10 inmates with a diet of bread and water for being “unpatriotic.”
Arpaio has threatened inmates with this punishment if they deface or vandalize an American flag sticker that he ordered be put in their cells, KPHO reported.
He has also ordered that “God Bless America” and the National Anthem be played daily in every jail and that all inmates sing along, regardless of their nationality.
The patriotic campaign will cover the Fourth Avenue Jail, Durango Jail, Estrella Jail, Lower Buckeye Jail, Tent City Jail, Central Intake and Towers Jail. About 8,500 county prisoners are subject to Arpaio’s rules, according to Fox News Phoenix.
The bread in question is actually Nutri-Loaf — so bad, it’s used as a punishment for poor behavior.
The American Civil Liberties Union is looking into the constitutionality of the punishment.
When asked if this is a publicity stunt, Arpaio said, “Well if it is, everything I do is a publicity stunt. No, it is not and yet in a way it is.”
Arpaio claimed his flag policy is well known, and that he is only promoting patriotism.
Arpaio has recently come under fire from the ACLU on another matter. Arpaio ordered neighborhood “crime sweeps” on Oct. 18 and 19 after a jail employee was shot and killed, Arizona Family reported. A federal investigation has since been launched to determine if the crime sweeps were racially motivated.
Arpao insisted they were not.
“This operation is geared toward crime, not an illegal immigration operation,” he said.
The sweep led to 37 arrests, 127 citations and 15 vehicles towed.
“Do not arouse the wrath of this sheriff,” was Arpaio’s response.
Arizona Central reported that the sheriff did not attend a community event on Nov. 9, hosted by Maricopa County sheriff’s officials, that was intended to reach out to the Latino community after the crime suppression operation.
Perhaps Arpaio was too busy enforcing patriotism.