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Jokes About Latinos, Deportations at Arpaio Roast

<p>Latino and civil rights groups did not share the humor on display at a recent celebration for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.</p>
Image: Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio pauses as he answers a question at a news conference on Dec. 18, 2013, in Phoenix.Ross D. Franklin / AP/file

A recent roast in honor of Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was considered anything but funny by civil rights groups.

According to audio of the event posted online by The Southern Poverty Law Center, it included off-color jokes about Latino immigrants and other groups.

“Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love. As long as you have papers," said Scottsdale state Sen. John Kavanagh at the Western Conservative Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center on Saturday.

“I’m not the federal monitor. How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here, Arpaio?” Kavanaugh joked at the event.

Arpaio's office was placed under a federal monitor after a ruling found his department had racially profiled Latinos during traffic stops and immigration sweeps.

Kavanaugh also said that when he and Arpaio go out to dinner “most of the waitstaff and cooks dive out the back window,” referring to the fact that many food workers are immigrants.

Arizona state Sen. Danny Ortega told an Arizona newspaper the comments were "disgusting," adding that any jokes about race, "specifically as it relates to something as serious as racial profiling, is not a joke to the Latino community."

Arpaio, who calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," has said his sweeps and detentions were necessary to enforce Arizona's SB1070 law. The Supreme Court struck down many of the law's provisions but the "show me your papers" part is still in effect.

Regarding the roast, Kavanaugh said it should be obvious the comments were a parody.