Trials & Litigation

Sheriff Joe Arpaio found in contempt of court order banning racial profiling

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Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Christopher Halloran /

One of America’s best-known sheriffs was held in civil contempt Friday, along with three top aides, for violating a federal court order that prohibits racial profiling.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found that longtime Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona and his deputies “have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of this court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct,” the Associated Press reports.

“In short, the court finds that the defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights,” wrote Snow in a 162-page ruling.

He will determine at a later date the penalties to be imposed, reports the Arizona Republic.

Although Arpaio currently has been found only in civil contempt, there is a possibility of his being found in criminal contempt as well, depending on his motives, the newspaper says.

The sheriff did not immediately respond to news of today’s ruling by Snow. In the past, he has admitted mistakes were made concerning the racial profiling order but said they were not intentional.

Related coverage: “Sheriff Joe Arpaio testifies in contempt hearing, says he delegated compliance with court order”

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