PHOENIX, AZ. - The organization "Respect" of Arizona, began the impeachment process of the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, which they must first obtain the necessary signatures for this purpose.
This group from Arizona on Wednesday presented the required documentation to the Department of Elections in Maricopa County, but still need to collect 335,317 signatures of registered voters before May 30, 2013.
If this group of activists successfully collects all of the necessary signatures, then they will force a special election to be held which could decide the future of the sheriff.
Arpaio, who was reelected last November for the sixth consecutive time, sent a message to his supporters today asking for financial support to face this battle.
"Just three weeks ago I took oath for a new term as Maricopa County sheriff, and a group of radical extremists have launched a campaign to get me out of my office," Arpaio said in his message.
The sheriff said that the issue is serious, because the people behind this effort are the same "agitators" who spent millions against him during the last campaign.
Arpaio is also facing a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department, over allegations for racial profiling against Hispanics during their operations.
Also pending is the decision of a judge on a case where a coalition of civil organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), made similar accusations against Arpaio's Sheriff's Office.
In 2011, the group Citizens for a Better Arizona, also successfully collected enough signatures to initiate impeachment proceedings against then leader of the state Senate, Republican Russell Pearce, who many consider to be the "face" of anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona for a long time now.
Pearce, who promoted the controversial state law SB1070, lost the election and was removed from office and tried to return to the state Legislature in 2012, but was unsuccessfully.