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Updated Mar 18, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Arizona judge rebukes Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office in racial-profiling case

PHOENIX — A judge who ruled last year that an Arizona sheriff’s office has
racially profiled Latinos is criticizing the agency’s top leaders for
mischaracterizing and trivializing the case’s key findings during a training
session.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow, in a ruling released Monday, is questioning
whether Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top aide, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, are
encouraging an attitude among rank-and-file sheriff’s deputies that undermines
efforts to remedy the agency’s constitutional violations.

A video of the October training session shows Sheridan providing a misleading
summary of the case to deputies and appearing to have suggested officers weren’t
obliged to make their best efforts at complying with the judge’s orders, Snow
wrote, noting that Arpaio later endorsed his aide’s remarks.

The leadership at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “may be choosing to
present a paper appearance of compliance while at the same time fostering an
attitude of contempt and subversion of the court’s orders among MCSO
personnel,” Snow wrote.

The judge ordered Arpaio and Sheridan to attend a March 24 hearing to answer
questions about the October training session and other issues.

Nearly 10 months ago, Snow concluded Arpaio’s office has systematically
racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols and
unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people during traffic stops. The
decision was made in a lawsuit brought by a small group of Latinos.

Arpaio has vigorously denied the racial-profiling allegations and is appealing
the ruling.

In response to the ruling, the sheriff’s office is required to install video
cameras in hundreds of the agency’s patrol vehicles, carry out additional
training to ensure officers aren’t making unconstitutional arrests and set up a
seven-person team of sheriff’s employees to help carry out the judge’s orders.

In a separate case, the sheriff’s office faces a similar lawsuit by the U.S.
Justice Department that alleges racial profiling. The lawsuit, however, claims
broader civil rights violations, such as allegations that Arpaio’s agency
retaliates against its critics and punishes Latino jail inmates with limited
English skills for speaking Spanish. Arpaio denies the claims.

Tom Liddy, a lawyer representing the sheriff, said it’s no secret the sheriff
has disagreed with the judge’s racial-profiling decision, but Arpaio and
Sheridan are happy to answer Snow’s questions.

“I am not sure it’s clear that the judge is critical” of the sheriff’s
office, Liddy said. “It’s clear he just has some questions that he would like
to be addressed.”

Snow’s order Monday centered heavily on the training session led by Sheridan
and Arpaio.

Sheridan told the deputies that Snow was putting the sheriff’s office under the
same restraints as a judge did to the long-troubled New Orleans Police
Department, according to the ruling. “And their police officers were murdering
people,” Sheridan said. “That tells you how ludicrous this crap is.”

During the session, Sheridan said the judge found deputies detained Hispanic
drivers 14 seconds longer than nonHispanics, when the judge said he made no
such ruling.

In Monday’s ruling, Snow said Arpaio’s deputies were improperly told they had
inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law. That misunderstanding and
other policies led to routine detentions of people without reasonable suspicion
that a crime had been committed.

The judge said his findings that the sheriff’s office committed multiple
violations of constitutional rights “were in no way based on the trivialized
and invented findings that Chief Deputy Sheridan presented,” Snow said.

Arpaio’s top aide also talked to deputies about the judge’s requirement that
officers document the race, ethnicity and sex of people in vehicles based on the
officers’ perceptions. Sheridan said determining ethnicity would be hard to do
without asking questions and that he felt it was absurd for the deputies to
be asked to guess, according to the ruling.

Sheridan said there might be reasons someone might not be able to figure out
the racial identity of those inside the car and offered reasons why they might
find it impractical, according to the ruling. “In doing so, it appears to the
Court that he was suggesting to the deputies that they were not obliged to use
their best reasonable efforts to comply with the court’s order,” Snow wrote.

Once Sheridan completed his remarks, Arpaio addressed the deputies, saying
Sheridan’s thoughts echoed his own. “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve
been saying,” Arpaio said.

The judge said Sheridan’s misleading summaries appear to be in violation of
Snow’s requirement that training include accurate information of the case.>PHOENIX (AP) _ A judge who ruled last year that an Arizona sheriff’s office has
racially profiled Latinos is criticizing the agency’s top leaders for
mischaracterizing and trivializing the case’s key findings during a training
session.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow, in a ruling released Monday, is questioning
whether Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top aide, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, are
encouraging an attitude among rank-and-file sheriff’s deputies that undermines
efforts to remedy the agency’s constitutional violations.

A video of the October training session shows Sheridan providing a misleading
summary of the case to deputies and appearing to have suggested officers weren’t
obliged to make their best efforts at complying with the judge’s orders, Snow
wrote, noting that Arpaio later endorsed his aide’s remarks.

The leadership at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “may be choosing to
present a paper appearance of compliance while at the same time fostering an
attitude of contempt and subversion of the court’s orders among MCSO
personnel,” Snow wrote.

The judge ordered Arpaio and Sheridan to attend a March 24 hearing to answer
questions about the October training session and other issues.

Nearly 10 months ago, Snow concluded Arpaio’s office has systematically
racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols and
unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people during traffic stops. The
decision was made in a lawsuit brought by a small group of Latinos.

Arpaio has vigorously denied the racial-profiling allegations and is appealing
the ruling.

In response to the ruling, the sheriff’s office is required to install video
cameras in hundreds of the agency’s patrol vehicles, carry out additional
training to ensure officers aren’t making unconstitutional arrests and set up a
seven-person team of sheriff’s employees to help carry out the judge’s orders.

In a separate case, the sheriff’s office faces a similar lawsuit by the U.S.
Justice Department that alleges racial profiling. The lawsuit, however, claims
broader civil rights violations, such as allegations that Arpaio’s agency
retaliates against its critics and punishes Latino jail inmates with limited
English skills for speaking Spanish. Arpaio denies the claims.

Tom Liddy, a lawyer representing the sheriff, said it’s no secret the sheriff
has disagreed with the judge’s racial-profiling decision, but Arpaio and
Sheridan are happy to answer Snow’s questions.

“I am not sure it’s clear that the judge is critical” of the sheriff’s
office, Liddy said. “It’s clear he just has some questions that he would like
to be addressed.”

Snow’s order on Monday centered heavily on the training session led by Sheridan
and Arpaio.

Sheridan told the deputies that Snow was putting the sheriff’s office under the
same restraints as a judge did to the long-troubled New Orleans Police
Department, according to the ruling. “And their police officers were murdering
people,” Sheridan said. “That tells you how ludicrous this crap is.”

During the session, Sheridan said the judge found deputies detained Hispanic
drivers 14 seconds longer than non-Hispanics, when the judge said he made no
such ruling.

In Monday’s ruling, Snow said Arpaio’s deputies were improperly told they had
inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law. That misunderstanding and
other policies led to routine detentions of people without reasonable suspicion
that a crime had been committed.

The judge said his findings that the sheriff’s office committed multiple
violations of constitutional rights “were in no way based on the trivialized
and invented findings that Chief Deputy Sheridan presented,” Snow said.

Arpaio’s top aide also talked to deputies about the judge’s requirement that
officers document the race, ethnicity and sex of people in vehicles based on the
officers’ perceptions. Sheridan said determining ethnicity would be hard to do
without asking questions and that he felt it was “absurd” for the deputies to
be asked to guess, according to the ruling.

Sheridan said there might be reasons someone might not be able to figure out
the racial identity of those inside the car and offered reasons why they might
find it impractical, according to the ruling. “In doing so, it appears to the
Court that he was suggesting to the deputies that they were not obliged to use
their best reasonable efforts to comply with the court’s order,” Snow wrote.

Once Sheridan completed his remarks, Arpaio addressed the deputies, saying
Sheridan’s thoughts echoed his own. “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve
been saying,” Arpaio said.

The judge said Sheridan’s misleading summaries appear to be in violation of
Snow’s requirement that training include accurate information of the case.

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