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Sheriff's Office Still Won't Release 2008 Report on Deputy Investigated for Racial Profiling

 

Despite the many tales of abuse, we know of only two cases in which one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio investigated his own deputies for alleged racial profiling incidents.

One is the investigation of deputies related to the traffic stop of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's aide, Jessica Rodriguez. As our August 1 blog post shows, that whitewashed investigation led to a giddy -- and inaccurate -- news release by Arpaio that Rodriguez had "admitted no racial prejudice" occurred in the stop. Rodriguez is suing the sheriff's office for racial profiling as part of a larger lawsuit by the ACLU.

The other is the investigation of Jesus Cosme, who allegedly made up a reason to stop suspected smugglers while being watched by an East Valley Tribune reporter. The sheriff's office confirmed Cosme was being investigated, and a high-ranking deputy told Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini in September that Cosme had been exonerated.

New Times has made repeated efforts to obtain the report since putting in a public records request for it on August 4. The sheriff's office won't give it up.

This week, the sheriff's office released Cosme's personnel file -- which had been requested at the same time. New Times wanted to see Cosme's file to check whether the deputy had ever been disciplined for any reason, particularly for racial profiling. (Cosme's file was clean).

The report, undoubtedly, is nothing more than another whitewash. But that just makes the failure of the sheriff's office to release it all the more strange. Possibly, the long delay is just bureaucratic incompetence.

Valley Fever will publish the report if and when it's released. With all the talk about Arpaio and racial profiling these days, it will be interesting to see how the sheriff's office "investigated" Cosme.

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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.