criminal justice

Hispanics still treated differently during traffic stops in county once policed under Arpaio: audit

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Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.

The likelihood of Hispanics being stopped and searched by sheriff’s deputies in Maricopa County, Arizona, is still significantly greater than that for whites according to an audit by criminal justice researchers at Arizona State University, The Associated Press reports.

The study looked at 31,000 traffic stops from July 2015 through June 2016 and researchers found the “likelihood of Hispanics being arrested or searched over time has not decreased, or even changed,” according to the audit report, whose authors had conducted an earlier, similar study. “Conversely, the length of stop for Hispanic drivers, while still longer than whites, decreased across years.”

The racial profiling continued after a federal judge in 2013 ruled that then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office violated the Constitution by targeting and detaining Hispanics suspected of having entered the country illegally, and subsequently approved a plan for an independent monitor in the agency to ensure the practice would end.

In May 2016, Judge G. Murray Snow found Arpaio in civil contempt for defying an injunction concerning immigration arrests. He was found guilty in July but pardoned by President Donald Trump on Aug. 25. The pardon is being challenged in court.

After 24 years as sheriff, Arpaio was defeated last November by Paul Penzone.

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