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Arpaio could take stand in racial-profiling trial

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio could take the stand today in his racial-profiling trial in federal court.

The civil rights trial against Arpaio accuses him and his department of racially profiling Latinos in Maricopa County.

The class-action suit started with a complaint by a retired Mexican schoolteacher, who was stopped in Arizona in 2007 during one of Arpaio’s crime-suppression sweeps.

Arpaio’s accusers are not asking for damages, but simply an apology from the department and a change in policy.

Valley attorney Michael Kimerer said the outcome of this trial will serve as a precursor to a U.S. Justice Department case that alleges rampant racial profiling by the sheriff’s office.

“If he loses, it is something to be very concerned about because it just adds legally and psychologically and in every way to all of the other cases out there to go against him,” Kimerer said.

There is no timetable for when Arpaio may take the stand.

If found guilty, Arpaio will not face jail time or fines.