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Federal judge orders Arizona sheriff to undergo racial profiling training

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] on Tuesday ordered Maricopa Country sheriff Joe Arpaio [official profile] to undergo the same training as his deputies to assist in the prevention of racial profiling and unlawful detention in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) [official website] as part of the ongoing case against Arpaio for racial profiling. Recently, Arpaio made a statement [Reuters report] that he would have no problem conducting an immigration sweep akin to the police action performed in the town of Guadalupe in 2008, which was later deemed unconstitutional by a federal court. The judge stated Arpaio's comments undermined the MCSO's efforts to comply with heightened standards against racial profiling and in Tuesday's hearing the judge criticized [AZ Central report] the MCSO's internal investigation into office misconduct.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio [JURIST news archive] has been the target of judicial action in recent years for the actions of the MCSO and Arpaio's outspoken comments on immigration. Legal action began in 2007, when a group of Hispanic drivers filed a class-action lawsuit arguing they were unlawfully targeted because of their ethnicity. Last year a federal judge ruled that Arpaio and his department engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling [JURIST report] during the execution of immigration patrols. In 2012 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a discrimination suit [JURIST report] against Maricopa County, Arizona, the MCSO and Arpaio. The DOJ claimed that Arpaio and his department engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory and unlawful law enforcement actions against Latinos. According to the complaint, "Latinos in Maricopa County are frequently stopped, detained, and arrested on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and Latino prisoners with limited English language skills are denied important constitutional protections." Later in 2012, the DOJ asked the Arizona district court to reject Arpaio's request [JURIST reports] to dismiss the lawsuit against him.

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