Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has invited Rev. Al Sharpton out to Arizona to take part in a simulated police use of force session to get an idea of how quickly cops must make decisions involving potential threats, and the MSNBC host hasn’t said “no.”
“Al, I haven’t seen you in a while,” Arpaio said in an interview with KSAZ. “Come back to my office, we’ll put you through the scenario, and be honest about it, we had two cops that were killed in New York City, assassinated.”
Arpaio, who last met with Sharpton in 2010 when the activist went to Arizona to take part in a pro-immigration rally, extended the invite after another civil rights leader, Phoenix-based Rev. Jarrett Maupin, took a use of force session earlier this week and came away with a different outlook on cops’ jobs.
“After going through this, yeah my attitude has changed. This is all unfolding in 10 to 15 seconds,” Maupin said after his session, in which he shot an unarmed man in one fast-paced scenario and was shot by an armed assailant in another.
“Let’s come on down here,” Arpaio said to Sharpton via KSAZ. “I think you are the prime guy to do this and learn a lesson.”
“It would be good for him to come,” Arpaio continued.
Sharpton, who has rallied to the side of many who have accused police of excessive force, did not dismiss the idea out of hand. His public relations team wanted to view the KSAZ segment before committing, but issued a statement:
“Despite differences with the sheriff on immigration, he’s for any effort to try to reach an understanding on proper policing,” said Sharpton’s director of communications.