After all that’s happened with former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, you might conclude that some of the major faults leveled at the MCSO were entirely Joe’s doing. We’re talking, of course, about systematically discriminating against Hispanics, racial profiling, harassment, and the like. Well, while the record is clear that while Arpaio was a moving and important force in this type of illegal behavior, the problem was institutional – that is, it was pervasive in the MCSO with or without Joe’s participation – and we’re therefore not surprised that the racism, intolerance, and outright discrimination has continued since the federal court ruling that sought to stop it.

ASU Study Finds Racial Profiling and Related Behavior Continues

Now, we’re not saying that Joe had no part in treating Hispanics unfairly. After all, even though he was eventually pardoned by his political ally, Donald Trump, Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court. That contempt consisted of ignoring the court’s directives prohibiting practices such as racial profiling. On the other hand, even after the ruling, and as Arpaio’s reign was about to end, the situation was not getting any better. What we mean is that over the past couple of years,

  • Hispanics are more likely to be arrested during a traffic stop than whites.
  • Hispanics are more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than whites.
  • The likelihood of Hispanics being arrested has not decreased.
  • The likelihood of Hispanics being searched has not decreased.

All of which appears to point to an embedded institutional issue down at the MCSO, which has been identified in a recent audit.

Sheriff Paul Penzone, who succeeded Arpaio and took office in January, says he is developing plans for dealing with the problems the audit identified. The plan includes training for deputies and supervisors, and Penzone has stated that he will not tolerate problematic behavior of officers. Note that the original order that set guidelines for eliminating disparate treatment of Hispanics is almost four years old. Yet the officials monitoring compliance with the order say that during the first quarter of 2017, the agency is 40% compliant with Phase I (development of policies and procedures, and training), and 58% complaint with Phase II (disciplinary issues, including investigation and disciplinary review). That’s a pretty poor showing, given the time that has elapsed since the orders went into effect.

Law Offices of David A. Black
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Phoenix, AZ 85004
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Despite Conviction, then Pardon, Arpaio’s Legacy Continues
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