The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has voted to settle portions of a lawsuit the Department of Justice brought against Sheriff Joe Arpaio — but he shouldn’t breathe easy just yet.
The Board didn’t cover the worst of Arpaio’s offenses, which is that his department regularly “racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and immigration patrols.”
That issue will still go to trial later next month in a U.S. district court in Arizona.
A member of the Board said the proposed settlement “will include Justice Department oversight, additional training and policy changes but no monetary damages,” according to the AP.
“We settled the three easy ones. The big one is not resolved and scheduled to go to court,” [Supervisor Steve] Gallardo said.
“The biggest concern is that this is not just window dressing. That there will be real change. The DOJ will hold a heavy hammer over the sheriff’s office, and there must be compliance.”
From the AP:
The sheriff’s office still is embroiled in a federal contempt of court case over Arpaio’s acknowledged violations of court orders in the racial profiling case, including letting officers conduct immigration patrols for 18 months after being ordered to stop them.
The county has been struggling to pay off Arpaio’s settlements with victims, which have cost Arizona taxpayers tens of millions of dollars:
Taxpayers will be on the hook for $45 million by the middle of next year because of the case, and the tab is expected to grow considerably larger.
The county has had to pay an additional $74 million related to Arpaio that is separate from the racial-profiling costs. That figure includes judgments, settlements and legal fees involving Arpaio’s office during his tenure, covering things such as lawsuits over jail deaths and the lawman’s failed investigations of political enemies.
“The sheriff’s office has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars with these tactics,” said Gallardo, who has often been a critic of Arpaio. “We should never have been put in this position. This is the sheriff’s doing.”
Arizona reporter Stephen Lemon has covered Arpaio’s shenanigans in detail, including Arpaio’s confession that he secretly investigated the federal judge overseeing his case — to the tune of a possible $1 million.