A federal judge presiding over a racial profiling case against an Arizona sheriff’s office chided the sheriff and his top aide on Monday for mischaracterizing his findings, telling them he’s unimpressed by what he called their apparent “double dealing.”
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said he was disappointed with the inaccurate statements that Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, the top aide for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, made about the case during an October training session with rank-and-file deputies.
Sheridan apologized for the inaccuracies. He says he made the remarks out of frustration with declining morale among his deputies after Snow concluded last year that the agency has racially profiled Latinos.
This is the latest in a yearslong string of criticisms against the agency led by the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” who’s made waves nationally by cracking down on illegal immigration and forcing inmates to wear pink underwear.
The judge took issue with a remark that Sheridan made during the Oct. 18 training session in which he complained that his agency was being put under the same kind of court supervision as the long-troubled New Orleans Police Department and added, “That tells you how ludicrous this crap is.”
“I am not really impressed with what appears to be double dealing,” Snow told the aide.
Sheridan and Arpaio were called into court Monday to answer questions about the training session. In a video of the session, Sheridan appears to suggest to sheriff’s deputies that they weren’t obliged to make their best efforts to remedy the agency’s constitutional violations, the judge wrote in a ruling a week ago.
The video shows Arpaio addressed the deputies after his chief aide, saying Sheridan’s thoughts echoed his own. “What the chief deputy said is what I’ve been saying,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio sat beside Sheridan in court but didn’t speak before the judge. Sheridan was on the receiving end of much of the judge’s criticism.
Ten months ago, Snow concluded Arpaio’s office systematically racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols and unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people during traffic stops. Arpaio has vigorously denied the racial profiling allegations and appealed the ruling.
The judge required Arpaio’s office to install video cameras in hundreds of the agency’s patrol vehicles, set up a seven-person team of sheriff’s employees to help implement the judge’s orders and carry out additional training to ensure officers aren’t making unconstitutional arrests.
In response to complaints that the agency is providing inaccurate information on the case, Snow said lawyers on both sides will summarize the judge’s rulings and put those statements in a letter that Arpaio and Sheridan will sign and give to all sheriff’s employees.