Sheriff's Office Confirms Profiling Investigation On Deputy

A Sheriff's Office deputy gives a citation to a Hispanic man during an April "crime sweep" in Guadalupe

By Ray Stern The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday that an investigator from the agency had called employees at the East Valley Tribune last month, after the newspaper had published a series of articles that were critical of the Sheriff's immigration enforcement operations.

As first reported on Wednesday in this blog , Trib sources say the investigation appears to be focused on Detective Jesus Cosme, who was mentioned in the newspaper's five-day series on Sheriff Joe Arpaio's operations.

"Obviously there's a pending investigation that's going on," says Captain Paul Chagolla, an agency spokesman. "I don't know who was contacted."

Chagolla says he can't comment further while the case remains open.

According to this July article from the series, Cosme seemed to be making up a reason for a traffic stop after the stop had occurred:

Sgt. Ryan Baranyos called his superior to report the details on their night’s work. “What was your (probable cause) on that?” Baranyos shouted to Cosme. The detective paused, looked at the ceiling and strained to recall what prompted the traffic stop. “Hold on,” Baranyos said into the phone, then quipped, “he’s thinking of something to make up.”

As with the brief investigation of a December racial profiling complaint by Jessica Rodriguez, an aide to Mayor Phil Gordon, the Sheriff's Office will probably exonerate itself.

But you never know. Maybe high-ranking Sheriff's officials are worried they've bent the meaning of "probable cause" too far, and they're using the allegation against Cosme to set new limits on their immigration operations.

You know -- the kind of limits that most police agencies already have imposed on themselves.

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