Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling Case Costs County Close To $1 Million, So Far

See also: Joe Arpaio Heads to Trial July 19 in Racial Profiling Lawsuit See also: Joe Arpaio's Lawyer Tim Casey's Firm Earns $735K (So Far) Defending Joe's Racial Profiling

There's no other way to say it: Maricopa County is wack.

Sure, everyone's up in arms about the several thousands of dollars spent on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's laughable birther investigation. But let's be real, that's peanuts compared to the $100 million Arpaio's swiped from voter-protected funds so he could pursue two of his fave projects: chasin' Mexicans and ginning up false charges on his political enemies.

Then there are all the lawsuits for wrongful deaths and injuries in his medieval jails, totaling more than $50 million, and counting. Because with each new eruption of murderous cruelty by Joe's gendarmes, that dollar figure grows.

Truly, we should have a version of Manhattan's national debt clock installed outside downtown Phoenix's Wells Fargo Tower, where Arpaio keeps his tony executive offices, just so we know how much Arpaio's costing county taxpayers, day by day.

Thursday marks the beginning of the big ACLU racial-profiling lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio, another colossal waste of cash brought on by Arpaio's Hispanic-hunting sweeps and raids.

You know, there are law enforcement agencies in the Valley and elsewhere that do not engage in a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing, which is illegal under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, by the way. But the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is not one of them.

How much will the tab be this go-around? Hard to predict, but I can tell you what Melendres has cost the county to defend so far: $834,577.08 through June 12, 2012. This, according to Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons