Federal Judge Orders Sheriff Joe Arpaio To Undergo Racial Profiling Training


A federal judge has ordered an anti-immigration sheriff to undergo training to show that his office will no longer single out Latinos during traffic and immigration stops, Reuters reported this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow previously ruled that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office often relied on racial profiling methods to unconstitutionally target Latinos. As part of that ruling, the court mandated training for the county’s officers on bias-free policing. But Arpaio never underwent the training. Since that ruling, Arpaio has continued to defend his office’s invalidated tactics, saying recently to a reporter that he would conduct a 2008 immigration raid that was deemed unlawful “all over again” if faced “with the same circumstances.”


Earlier in October, the judge said that Arpaio’s comment could make it difficult to be in compliance with the court’s order, writing that while the sheriff was allowed to make public statements as a public official, that “his deputies cannot be presumed to ignore what he says.” At the time, the judge set a hearing for the end of October to go over whether Arpaio’s public comments “should be considered in evaluating whether the agency is in compliance with the court’s order on training,” KTAR reported. “I can’t ignore things he says when they’re directly as provocative as they are,” Snow said. And during Tuesday’s hearing, Snow was frustrated to learn that Arpaio had not personally undergone the court-ordered training sessions, saying, “I will order Sheriff Arpaio to take the training. I will order that today.”

During several of these court-ordered training sessions, video revealed Arpaio and other top Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials mocking the court mandate and making other statements to undermine it, a move that Snow harshly condemned in March as an inaccurate characterization of his injunction ruling. The judge brought Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan into court after learning that Sheridan told deputies that the federal court order was “absurd” and “ludicrous,” an assessment that Arpaio had agreed with.

Though the order was handed down in May 2013, Snow delayed its implementation to allow both parties to reach agreements. In October 2013, the judge ordered the appointment of a court-ordered monitor and the creation of a community advisory board to ensure compliance of constitutional requirements and to restore public trust in law enforcement. The court also insisted on implementing racial-profiling training that includes 12 hours on bias-free policing using role-playing scenarios, interactive exercises, and lecture formats, the injunction stated. The court order also requires officers to radio in the basis for each traffic stop before making contact with the people they’ve pulled over. Arpaio has taken the lead on questionable prosecution tactics and been the subject of numerous racial profiling lawsuits.

Arpaio previously made insincere efforts to comply with the court recommendations, holding community outreach meetings in districts with few Latino residents. He initially declined to show up at the meetings, saying that he “didn’t want to favor one community over the others.” But rather than announcing that he would show up at a meeting, Arpaio tweeted that he had just left one of the sparsely-attended meetings. Snow’s court recommendations was estimated to cost around $21.9 million to taxpayers to fix Arpaio’s systemic racial profiling of Latinos.