Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, from Arizona is due to begin a four-day hearing starting today. He risks getting fines for violating a judge’s orders in a racial profiling case.
Arpaio, the chief of Metro Phoenix, has been defying the outcomes of his actions for a long time, ignoring the predictions that his daring approach will one day get him into trouble. That day seems to have finally arrived, as the hearings starting on Tuesday, the 21st of April 2015 represent the most ambitious attempt to make him pay for his deeds. Throughout his 22-year career he has faced many accusations, but this one is not the same. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow wants Arpaio to pay a significant fine himself. This situation is different from past situations, when his settlements used to be paid from taxpayers’ money.
About two years ago he was accused of racial practices, especially against Latinos, irrespective of their status as residents. Thus, Arpaio’s traffic and immigration patrols constantly targeted people belonging to this group. The judge immediately prompted him to change the situation but, at failing to comply with the requests, Arpaio was ordered to face a contempt hearing.
There are 20 witnesses involved, including members of the immigrant squad, Arpaio and other three people targeted in the case and an agency spokesman.
Four other people will also appear in court to deal with the same charges of disobeying judge orders to stop conducting immigration patrols. The other members of the division were not aware of the ban and continued to disregard the order for a year and a half.
According to Brian Sands – one of the people that were aware of the court order – the Sheriff was suggested to inform the other members of the squad, but he constantly refused. Arpaio and one of his aides, Jerry Sheridan admitted to having violated the judge’s orders and offered to pay $ 100.000 to a civil rights organization, but the other two accused did not. Arpaio also admitted to having refused to hand in to traffic-stop videos in the profiling case. The legal costs for the profiling case, along with settlements and fees for Arpaio’s office have reached more than $70 million, money that was paid from the county’s funds.
For now, the sheriff is not at risk of overlooking jail time, although it is rumored that the judge intents on exposing Arpaio to this later on.
Whether or not these accusations will affect the Sheriff’s prospects for winning the seventh term is yet unclear. He currently doesn’t have a new opponent and he is still very strong from the political point of view, with an impressive base of supporters by his side.
Image Source: Theatlantic