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Updated Apr 17, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Judge: MCSO staff to be corrected on Joe Arpaio case

PHOENIX — A federal judge ordered Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to
immediately issue a statement correcting mischaracterizations his staff made
about court findings in a racial-profiling case, according to court documents
filed Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said a new summary of key findings would be
given to employees in Arpaio’s office without the sheriff’s signature of
approval.

Snow last year concluded Arpaio’s office systematically racially profiled
Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols. Arpaio has appealed the
ruling.

The judge said he could no longer wait for Arpaio to help write a corrective
statement.

“The misinformation, misunderstanding, and confusion caused by the inaccurate
statements and inappropriate training that has occurred throughout the MCSO
cannot wait until such future training or briefing may be approved and
implemented to be corrected,” Snow wrote. “They require immediate attention.”

Arpaio said Thursday he has already directed all personnel to read the
seven-page statement. He said “the court should have every confidence that I
will direct this activity to its timely completion.”

In the past month, two sheriff’s officials admitted to erroneously summarizing
Snow’s findings. Deputy Chief David Trombi was summoned by Snow after a video
showed Trombi making several misstatements at a March 15 community meeting, such
as saying the judge found deputies had detained Hispanic drivers 14 seconds
longer than non-Hispanics. Trombi also said that Snow based his court findings
on the fact that only two sheriff’s deputies used race as a factor in
determining whether to arrest someone.

Snow last month chided Arpaio and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan for similar
errors.

Arpaio and Sheridan had initially agreed to join with the plaintiffs in the
case to draft a document accurately correcting all the misstatements. However,
in court documents, Snow says the sheriff backed off signing the statement
because of subsequent news coverage. In addition, Arpaio said he would only give
signed approval if certain changes were made, according to Snow.

The judge said Arpaio submitted changes he wanted but past a court-mandated
deadline to get approval from the court and the plaintiffs. However, Arpaio said
he was satisfied that the statement was being issued without his signature.

“The court previously requested my signature to be part of this statement,
which I opposed. So I am pleased that today the court recognized my position on
the matter and my signature will be not a part of this statement,” Arpaio said.

The judge ordered that all Marciopa County Sheriff’s Office personnel,
including volunteer posse members, read the summary within the next two weeks.
Employees then must sign a form stating that they read and understand the
summary. The Sheriff’s Office will provide copies of the forms to a
court-appointed monitor who is also tasked with overseeing new training.

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

Snow also ordered all Sheriff’s Office command staff with a ranking of sergeant
or higher to read the judge’s initial 142-page order outlining the findings of
the case. They will also have to sign a form stating that they read and
understood it. The monitor will verify everyone’s compliance, even if it means
questioning Marciopa County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Snow said.

Snow set a status conference in the case for May 7. He said if this order has
still not been fully implemented, he may require Arpaio to appear for
questioning.

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