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Arpaio critics to hold protest in downtown Phoenix

Maricopa, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio prepares to speak to a crowd in the East Room on the grounds of the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

An estimated 100 opponents of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are expected to rally in downtown Phoenix on Friday to protest the treatment of an inmate in one of Arpaio’s jails and racial profiling allegations against the sheriff’s office.

Forty-four-year-old Ernest Atencio was found unresponsive in a jail cell last month after fighting with some of the sheriff’s jail officers.

He later died after his family decided to take him off life support.

The sheriff’s office says Atencio was combative when Phoenix police brought him to the jail for booking on an assault charge.

The U.S. Justice Department has alleged that Arpaio racially profiles Latinos and bases immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints.

Arpaio denies the allegations and says the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation was politically motivated.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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