Joe Arpaio, MCSO Get a Talking-To From Federal Judge in Racial-Profiling Case

Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Matthew Hendley

Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, who's presiding over the racial-profiling case against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, did not seem too happy yesterday.

MCSO and Arpaio's side of the courtroom got a talking-to from Snow yesterday at a hearing to discuss some of Arpaio's public comments, plus the investigation surrounding former Deputy Charley Armendariz, who may have been shaking down immigrants and may not have been acting alone.

Although Arpaio wasn't present, Snow specifically took issue with one of the Sheriff's comments to the Associated Press about the MCSO's 2008 immigration raid of the Town of Guadalupe, in which Arpaio said he'd "do it all over again."

"I can't ignore things he says when they're directly as provocative as they are," Snow said, shortly after mentioning that he was going to order Arpaio to take the same court-mandated training as his deputies.

See also: -Deputy's Death Opens the Door Onto a World Corruption in Sheriff Joe's MCSO

Tim Casey, an attorney representing MCSO, argued that Arpaio's comments shouldn't be taken into account when considering whether the office is in compliance with Snow's 2013 order to remedy the office's racial-profiling practices.

Snow said he's still willing to take such comments into account when determining if MCSO's complying with his order.

Robert Warshaw, the court-appointed monitor of MCSO who's been a monitor for various police agencies for the past 16 years, said any time he's seen the head of an agency make such comments, there's a "chilling impact on the reform process in any police agency."

Additionally, Snow said, "I think he is completely undoing what the MCSO is spending a great deal of time building," referring to MCSO's efforts to comply with the order and attempt to regain trust from Maricopa County's Latino population.

Meanwhile, ACLU attorney Cecillia Wang argued that Arpaio's comments might necessitate more training, perhaps training deputies to specifically ignore Arpaio's comments. Snow didn't rule that out.

The other major part of yesterday's hearing centered on the revelations brought on by the arrest and apparent suicide of former Deputy Armendariz, who was a member of Arpaio's Human Smuggling Unit, and a witness in this racial-profiling case.

Phoenix PD had responded to Armendariz's home earlier this year, where police believed he was "under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant or suffering from some kind of manic episode."

Phoenix police, and Sheriff's deputies -- after MCSO seized the investigation -- ended up discovering drugs, evidence bags that were never turned in, plus hundreds of driver's licenses, passports, credit cards, and wallets, leading to speculation that Armendariz and perhaps others were shaking down immigrants.

Plus, it was discovered that Armendariz was personally recording his traffic stops. That led to the revelation that other deputies could have been recording their traffic stops -- any records of which should have been turned over as evidence in this racial-profiling case. The fact no one at MCSO mentioned the existence of such videos, let alone never turned them over as evidence didn't exactly please Judge Snow.

Earlier this year, Snow ordered monitor Warshaw and Arpaio's Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan to quietly obtain any existing video deputies took of their traffic stops. It didn't happen quietly -- Deputy Chief David Trombi, who apparently didn't know it was supposed to be kept on the down-low, sent a memo to some at MCSO, essentially tipping them off to the collection of video.

Snow was still visibly upset about that, and also wasn't pleased with the fact that MCSO had closed its criminal investigation into what was found at Armendariz's house. Warshaw criticized the investigation as very week, and Snow said he wanted to see the criminal investigation re-opened, to find out where all of that stuff in Armendariz's garage came from.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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