I-Team: Planned protest prompts group giving Arpaio award to move from Strip to private location

LAS VEGAS - A controversial former Arizona Sheriff, Joe Arpaio,  has a planned visit to Las Vegas the weekend of Sept. 15.  He's coming to town to accept an award, but his appearance has already spread through social media sparking protests in Las Vegas.

Arpaio is supposed to receive the Courage Under Fire Award at a dinner at the Tropicana Saturday night, but Chuck Muth, the head of the conservative group holding the conference, says he doesn't want to put any tourists or police at risk, so he's changing the venue to a secret location off the Strip.

The I-Team spoke Muth, who says Metro Police became concerned about security in and around the Tropicana on Friday.
   
Muth says he feels like he and his group have been chased away from their own event.

"They absolutely chilled our free speech, didn't kill it, but they absolutely did chill it, and it's wrong," Muth said.  "I think what they're doing with these violent protests, and it's not all of them, exercising your first amendment right to protest is fine. It's the violence we've seen in recent weeks that is really chilling conservative free speech."

There are several factors that raised security concerns, Muth said.  For example, President Donald Trump's decision to rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) groups have already been protesting this Arpaio's appearance.
   
There's also President Donald Trump's recent pardon of the former sheriff.  Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order to stop racial profiling of Latinos while he was sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County.  The conference is also being held Mexican Independence Day, and the Las Vegas Strip is a big draw for people celebrating the holiday.

The dinner is now planned in a gated venue off the Las Vegas Strip.  Muth says he's not revealing whether or not Arpaio will be there to accept the award.
   


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