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Arizona sheriff’s racial profiling policies will cost taxpayers $21 million

Arizona taxpayers are expected to pay roughly $21 million in order to implement changes stemming from a court ruling that found local law enforcement racially profiled Latino residents during traffic and immigration stops.

The money will be paid out over the next year and a half, though  the penalties won’t stop there under the ruling against Sheriff  Joe Arpaio’s office. Beginning in 2015, Maricopa County will have  to pay an additional $10 million a year in order to maintain the  changes for as long as the office is placed under the judge’s  order.

According to US District Court Judge Murray Snow’s ruling, the  sheriff’s office must install new technology, such as video  cameras and radios in police vehicles that can record stops as  they occur, as well as pay for new training measures that will  put an end to illegal arrests. In addition, the sheriff’s office  must install, provide vehicles and pay the salaries and benefits  for a seven-person team charged with ensuring the judge’s orders  are implemented properly.

The penalties come as a significant blow to Arpaio, the  self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” in America, who has long  argued for local police to become involved in the enforcement of  the nation’s immigration policies. Maricopa County has already  spent $1.6 million defending Arpaio in court, a number that’s set  to rise even higher as the sheriff appeals the original ruling.

“That’s the price you pay for going out and doing federal  immigration work,” Maricopa County Supervisor and Arpaio  critic Mary Rose Wilcox told the Associated Press. She added that  immigration enforcement should be left up to federal officials.

Back in May 2013, Judge Snow ruled  that Arpaio’s office violated the rights of numerous Latino  residents by specifically targeting them for traffic and  immigration stops based on their ethnicity. Some were also found  to have been arrested and BL_062detained for extended periods of time  without cause.

Despite the ruling against him, Arpaio told the AP that he does  not regret his actions, claiming the policies his deputies  followed were in line with legislation passed by lawmakers and  helped lower crime in the county.

“It was worth the money, and it was worth the effort,”   he added.

This isn’t the first time that Arpaio’s actions have stirred up  controversy. He has come under fire in the past for arresting  critics of his policies at their own homes in the middle of the  night, as well as for saying he wants to have unmanned aerial  drones help patrol the skies of Maricopa County. He has also  questioned the legal status of President Barack Obama by  suggesting his birth certificate was likely a forgery.



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