Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio to speak at Belchertown rally

Billed as "America's Toughest Sheriff," Arpaio was at center of several controversies

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2013, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to reporters in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – A controversial former law enforcement official will be attending a Second Amendment rally in Belchertown this weekend.

Former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is among the featured speakers at the “4th annual Flag Day Second Amendment Rally,” which is being held at the Swift River Sportsmen’s Club.

Arpaio, who supporters have referred to as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” received nationwide attention for his advocacy of strict immigration enforcement. Other controversies surrounding Arpaio have included his decision to house some inmates in a “tent city” and issuing pink underwear as part of the jail uniform. He also investigated former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, believing it to be fake.

Other speakers at the rally include Stewart Rhodes of the anti-government group the Oath Keepers, Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America, and Jeannette Finicum, whose husband was shot and killed by police during the occupation of the Malheir National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

It is a homecoming of sorts for Arpaio, who was born and raised in Springfield, before making his law enforcement career in the West. Arpaio served six terms as sheriff of Maricopa County- Arizona’s most populous- before losing his bid for a seventh term this past November.

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