Joe Arpaio's MCSO Costs Taxpayers Nearly $750,000 in Lawsuits in Less Than 24 Hours

Get your calculators out...

In less than 24 hours, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office -- under the leadership of America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff," Joe Arpaio -- has cost county taxpayers nearly $750,000 in settlements or judgments stemming from lawsuits filed against the sheriff.

The latest: yesterday's $94,000 judgment in favor of lawyers who represent Latinos who claim they were racially profiled during Arpaio's crime-suppression sweeps.

The Associated Press explains the lawsuit:

The lawyers argued Arpaio's office should pay the costs of reopening depositions in the case after it was discovered that the office had destroyed records sought in the lawsuit.

They say they wouldn't have had to reopen the depositions had they gotten the records earlier.

The judge in the case awarded $70,000 to a California law firm, another $2,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and another $22,000 for court reporter and videographer services.

Just hours before that ruling, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved a $650,00 payout to the family of a 33-year-old man killed by a motorist who was "pursued recklessly and in violation of law at high speeds by" a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy.

In September 2007, sheriff's deputies were in pursuit of a 15-year-old motorist who refused to stop. During the pursuit, the teenage driver fatally hit Salvador Cereceres Herrera, 33.

In March 2008, Cereceres Herrera's family filed a claim against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Board of Supervisors, and the county's Risk Management Department because, they allege, the teen was "pursued recklessly and in violation of law at high speeds by" Deputy Ronald Frieberg.

But three-quarters-of-a-million dollars is chump change for the MCSO, which has doled out more than $50 million in legal bills since Arpaio took office in 1993 -- but what does he care? Taxpayers are the ones paying for it.

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James King
Contact: James King