Arizona sheriff asks feds to pay racial profiling compliance costs

PHOENIX Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:57pm EST

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses the media about a simulated school shooting in Fountain Hills, Arizona, February 9, 2013. REUTERS/Darryl Webb

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses the media about a simulated school shooting in Fountain Hills, Arizona, February 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Darryl Webb

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - A controversial Arizona sheriff is demanding that the U.S. government pay an estimated $39 million to cover the costs of complying with a federal court order that found his deputies had racially profiled Latino drivers, officials said on Friday.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seen as a divisive figure in the national debate on immigration reform, says the government is to blame for improperly training his staff in conducting crime suppression operations that led to the sanctions, and should reimburse the county for money to be spent on remedies.

"It is neither appropriate nor fair that the taxpayers of Maricopa County be responsible for the costs and expenses incurred in this matter," he wrote in the letter, sent late on Thursday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the general counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix.

A federal judge in May ordered Arpaio to ensure that his deputies stop using race when making law enforcement decisions, in response to a lawsuit filed in 2007 that tested whether police could target unauthorized immigrants without also profiling U.S. citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ordered that an independent court monitor be appointed to oversee the operations of Arpaio, who has been dubbed "America's Toughest Sheriff."

Snow also ordered that other steps be taken, including appointing a community advisory board, audio and video recording of all traffic stops, increased training of sheriff's office employees and the implementation of comprehensive record keeping.

Arpaio denies that his deputies racially profile and has appealed the court order.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project and the plaintiffs' counsel in the lawsuit, said the six-term sheriff should stop blaming others and start complying with the judge's decision.

"The trial record was crystal clear," Wang said. "The sheriff engaged in intentional discrimination against Latinos and he said he would stick with his policies whether or not the federal government agreed."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (2)
Kiljoy616 wrote:
What is wrong with the people there are they just a bunch of bigots. 6 Term Sheriff what they can’t get someone else. Incredible.

Jan 17, 2014 2:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
WhyMeLord wrote:
OMG, retrain a bunch of racists and/or bigots to comply with the law?
Once a person has been well trained (usually from birth) to racially profile others, short of radical brainwashing techniques, they’re never going to change. Arpaio would have to be water-boarded 185 times before he becomes a rational human being; his deputies might be a little easier to modify. Arizona has fallen under a ‘cone of evil intolerance’; God help anyone who goes to, or might live there.

Jan 17, 2014 3:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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