Tough-talking Maricopa County "Sheriff Joe" Arpaio wants the federal government to pick up nearly $38 million in costs resulting from a court ruling that found his office racially profiled Latinos during regular traffic and immigration patrols.
The famed Arizona lawman says that Washington is to blame for giving his deputies faulty immigration enforcement training, reports Fox News,
and sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency demanding the government pick up a share of the lawsuit.
Arpaio's department was slammed in a federal judgment of $30 million in compliance costs and $7 million in legal fees being sought by the attorneys who won the case. The sheriff also wants the government to pay his $1.2 million in legal fees incurred in fighting the case.
"The federal government's failures (as set forth above) are the direct result of these expenditures," Arpaio wrote in his letter.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled in May that the sheriff's office singled out Latinos in traffic and immigration patrols, prolonging their detentions once they were pulled over. The compliance costs to be covered include expenses for putting video cameras in the sheriff's department's patrol vehicles, playing for extra training to make sure officers aren't violating the constitution when making arrests, and for paying the costs for a court-appointed official to monitor
the department's operations.
The judge agreed, though in his ruling that Immigration and Customs had trained Arapio's officers that considering race while making law enforcement decisions was acceptable.
Attorney Cecilia Wang, one of the attorneys who filed the case against Arpaio on behalf of a group of Latinos, called his letter to the government a "complete whitewash" and a publicity stunt.
But Arpaio, who is appealing the case,
says the government promised to bear the litigation costs coming from 100 of his deputies, who were empowered to make federal immigration arrests after they went through government training.
Customs rescinded the deputies' federal arrest powers in 2009, but Arpaio continued to do immigration enforcement under state laws, announcing four months after the deputies lost their federal authority that his office would train all 881 of its deputies to enforce immigration law.
Arpaio, though, says the federal case centers on the officers who were trained by the federal government, not the ones who did not receive federal training.
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