Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Gets a Court-Ordered, Anti-Racial Profiling Monitor

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is famously "tough," or "unconstitutional" in his enforcement of immigration laws, depending on who you ask.

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Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is famously "tough," or "unconstitutional," in his enforcement of immigration laws, depending on who you ask. And, it turns out, a federal judge falls into the latter category after agreeing that Arpaio's department engaged in racial profiling. U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued an order on Wednesday to try and correct that, by placing a number of restrictions on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and appointing a monitor to enforce those changes for at least the next three years.

The 59-page order, among other things, requires the department to:

  • Train all officers in anti-discriminatory practice, and post notices clearly outlining the prohibition against racial profiling
  • Record all traffic stops with audio and video, radio in the reason for the stop before approaching the vehicle. Arpaio was sued in the first place by a group of Latinos over the sheriff department's use of “crime suppression” patrols in mainly Latino neighborhoods. The plaintiffs argued that officers stopped individuals simply because they looked like they might be undocumented. 
  • During the traffic stop, officers unnecessarily extend traffic stops, and all traffic stops will be periodically audited. Officers are barred from selecting which vehicles to stop, which individuals to question, and which procedures to use based on the race or ethnicity of the person in question. The order will also bar traffic stop quotas.
  • The department will have to inform the community of the new policies, and have representatives available in Spanish and English to answer questions. 

The order gets pretty specific on the tactics now barred for use:

Prohibit Deputies from relying on a suspect’s speaking Spanish, or speaking English with an accent, or appearance as a day laborer as a factor in developing reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe a person has committed or is committing any crime, or reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual is in the country without authorization" 

The court-appointed monitor would oversee the training of deputies under the order, along with ensuring that the department complies with all the requirements. Arpaio's office is appealing the May ruling on Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio that led to the order in the first place. He has seen the court order, and issued the following statement to CBS affiliate KPHO

I have received a copy of the court order and I am in the process of discussing it with our attorneys. We are identifying areas that are ripe for appeal. To be clear, the appointed monitor will have no veto authority over my duties or operations. As the constitutionally elected Sheriff of Maricopa County, I serve the people and I will continue to perform my duties and enforce all laws.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.