The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced on Tuesday that it will file charges for misdemeanor contempt-of-court against Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. Arpaio is being charged for violating a court order [AP report] that required him to end his immigration patrols. A judge found that his immigration patrols were illegal because they racially profiled Hispanics. Arpaio claims [Slate report] that he unintentionally violated the orders and that he is being charged as a political move during the election season. The DOJ states [The Hill report] that it will continue investigating additional allegations against Arpaio and several of his aides.
In May Arpaio was found in contempt [JURIST report] for disobeying orders to stop his immigration patrols. Last July the DOJ and county officials in Phoenix agreed to settle [JURIST report] parts of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. The DOJ filed charges against the Sheriff’s Office for discriminatory practices in traffic stops, work and home raids, and in county jails, as well as claims of retaliation. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in April of last year that Arpaio engaged in practices of racial profiling when conducting traffic stops, and in June a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona issued [JURIST reports] a pre-trial order accepting the other court’s finding of racial profiling. In October 2014 a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] Arpaio to undergo the same training as his deputies to assist in the prevention of racial profiling and unlawful detention in the Sheriff’s Office as part of the ongoing case against Arpaio for racial profiling. In 2013 a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that Arpaio and his department engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling during the execution of immigration patrols.