Randy Parraz Lawsuit Vs. Maricopa County Over '08 Arrest Can Proceed, Judge Rules

A lawsuit filed by activist Randy Parraz against Maricopa County following his 2008 arrest outside the Board of Supervisors Auditorium can move ahead, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Parraz was arrested on September 29, 2008, after he and members of his group, Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, held a demonstration at a Supervisors' meeting to protest abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and were asked to leave. As yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver explains, though, (see below), Parraz was arrested after he'd already left the downtown Phoenix auditorium, a public building, and was standing outside. A dispute remains as to whether Arpaio's deputies had probable cause to arrest Parraz on suspicion of trespassing and disorderly conduct, Silver wrote.

Her ruling was made in response a motion for summary judgment made by the county, which had argued that deputies were justified in arresting Parraz. The ruling includes a transcript of a videotaped conversation between Parraz and deputies that preceded his arrest, which reveal that when Parraz asked why he was being asked to leave the spot outside the building and what law he was breaking, a deputy answered, "It doesn't matter."

See also: Randy Parraz, Anti-Arpaio Activist and U.S. Senate Candidate, Files Federal Lawsuit Over 2008 Arrest

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.