- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Foes of metro Phoenix’s longtime sheriff have asked a judge to immediately discipline the lawman’s second-in-command for willfully making false statements to the court in a racial profiling case.

The request late Tuesday comes as the judge mulls changes to Sheriff’s Joe Arpaio’s office in response to a contempt-of-court ruling against the lawman and top aide Jerry Sheridan for defying an order to stop their immigration patrols.

Lawyers pressing the case against Arpaio recommended that U.S. District Judge Murray Snow reopen internal investigations into alleged officer misconduct that have since been deemed inadequate. One such investigation centered on an allegation that members of Arpaio’s immigrant smuggling squad had regularly pocketed items during traffic stops and safe-house busts.

Arpaio’s foes say Sheridan should be immediately disciplined for knowingly making false statements when he claimed he didn’t know about the order stop the immigration patrols until more than two years after it was issued.

Lawyers for the sheriff say in a court filing Tuesday that they won’t contest the internal investigations, but added that Sheridan, as an appointed administrator, is subject to the same disciplinary rules as other officers.

Sheridan agreed to accept a 40-hour suspension for violating the order stop the immigration patrols. A previous internal investigation into which managers were responsible for violating the order concluded without anyone being disciplined.

The profiling case that Arpaio lost three years ago led to the contempt-of-court proceeding after Snow accused the sheriff and some of his aides of violating court orders. It morphed into a bruising review of the sheriff’s internal investigations, which have been criticized as being fraught with biased decision-making and conflicts of interest.

Snow has not yet imposed punishments but is expected to order an overhaul of the agency’s internal affairs investigations and create a fund to pay damages to Latinos who were illegally detained when Arpaio ignored the order to stop the patrols. A hearing in the case is tentatively scheduled for Friday.

The May 13 civil contempt ruling could lead to a criminal contempt case involving possible fines or jail time for Arpaio and Sheridan.

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Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/jacques-billeaud.


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