Hispanic women's group denies Maricopa County Sheriff's office booth at Phoenix convention

PHOENIX - A group representing Latina women has denied the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office a spot at an upcoming conference to be held in Phoenix.

The Hispanic Women's Corporation, which hosts an annual Hispanic Women's conference in Phoenix, has returned an $800 fee for an exhibitor's booth at this year's conference, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The department says the HWC leadership decided not to have a booth sponsored by the sheriff's office at the event.

According to an MCSO news release, James Estrada, the Director of Community Outreach for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, got a phone call from the HWC's president, Linda Mazon Gutierrez, who explained the sheriff's office "would not be welcomed this year."

In a news release from the Hispanic Women's Corporation, it was noted that Gutierrez declined the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office exhibitor application "based upon business and social justice reasons."

According to the HWC news release, the decision was also based on a recent court ruling that MCSO "has engaged in racially profiling Latinos for years."

The sheriff's office said that the booth at this year's conference was to be staffed with women from various ranks within the office, and that many Latina officers had volunteered to work at the event.

"The shame is that we could have interacted with future employees of the Sheriff's Office. At a time when jobs are scarce, that's not something to play politics with," stated Sheriff Joe Arapio.

The 28th Professional Development and Leadership Institute will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center September 26 and 27. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend.

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