|The 19th floor of the Wells Fargo Tower houses the offices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio (photo by Jonathan Delarosa, 2011).|
|A large circular platform outside of the Wells Fargo Tower provides a perfect area for heated protests and debates often surrounding topics of immigration and Sheriff Arpaio's practices of law enforcement (photo by Jonathan Delarosa).|
Located on the corner of 100 West Washington Street just North of the Historic City Hall.
In 1971, designer Charles Luckman and Associates designed a 27 story skyscraper formerly named the First National Bank Tower, now known as the Wells Fargo Tower and surrounding plaza. This block in downtown Phoenix houses offices, a bank headquarters, and a historic gift shop telling the Wells Fargo story. Currently, this plaza holds the costly and controversial offices of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and 2010 County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Most popularly known for their stance on immigration and widely seen throughout television and media outlets as the main stage for numerous heated protests based upon these issues. While working towards changing immigration laws to exclude most undocumented immigrants from the United States as well as conducting large scale raids to dispel as many undocumented citizens as possible, they have gained supporters and enemies alike in mass numbers. After the announcement of the now famous Senate Bill 1070, along with planning of raids and use of racial profiling in order to utilize routine traffic stops as a primary weapon against illegal immigrants, Arpaio and his task force have certainly gained extreme amounts of criticism across not only Arizona but states all across America. The self proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” has doubled the inmate population in his tenure as Maricopa County Sheriff (Time.com). County Attorney Andrew Thomas has also come under fire and was indicted for abuse of power and unethical behavior in his attempts to stop lawsuits against him and his actions toward undocumented immigrants.
Not only has Sheriff Arpaio created extreme outrage and one of the largest debates across the United States today, he has also brought negative attention to Wells Fargo and its support of Maricopa County Sheriffs Offices and the taxpayer dollars that are the sole funding for the luxury offices. An approximate $744,000 a year is required for Sheriff Joe and his staff to occupy the 18th and 19th floors of the Wells Fargo Tower (AZcentral.com). Andrew Thomas has also come under fire and was indicted for abuse of power and unethical behavior in his attempts to stop lawsuits against him and his actions. These two have formed an alliance to combat ideas they see as wrong (notably illegal immigration) and both help each other out, from Arpaio’s defending of Thomas’s program to fight illegal immigration, to Thomas spending millions of dollars to bail Arpaio out of legal binds (Carter). Given that both have had a great effect on many people in Maricopa County, along with their location in Wells Fargo Tower, this makes for a perfect place to protest, with people on both sides of the debate protesting when Al Sharpton paid a visit to the tower to visit Arpaio (Phoenix Business Journal) to the various protests that have happened in the wake of SB 1070. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, under the rule of Arpaio, has become increasingly opposed by Latino populations across America as the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids continue to target and detain immigrants by racial profiling.
- Jonathan Delarosa and Logan Garman
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Lynch, Mona. "Punishing Images." Punishment & Society 6.3 (2004): 255-70. Sage Publications. ASU Libraries, 1 July 2004. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. <http://pun.sagepub.com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/content/6/3/255.full.pdf+html>.
Sunnucks, Mike. "Arpaio-Sharpton Meeting Prompts Downtown Phoenix Protests | Phoenix Business Journal." Phoenix Business Journal. 19 June 2009. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. <http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2009/06/15/daily73.html>.
Carcamo, Cindy. "O.C. Minister, Local Arrested in Phoenix Protests | Phoenix, Arrested, Civil - News - The Orange County Register." The Orange County Register. 30 July 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. <http://www.ocregister.com/news/phoenix-260006-arrested-civil.html?cb=1280515529>.