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Waste of the Day: Arizona County Police Haven’t Eliminated Racial Profiling



Arizona road map

Topline: An Arizona police department will soon have spent $314 million in the past 11 years to fix discriminatory practices in its traffic patrols, but the agency is somehow still not compliant with three court orders ordering it to eliminate racial bias, according to the Associated Press.

Racial profiling in Maricopa County, Arizona

Key facts: A federal judge ruled in 2013 that the Maricopa County Sheriff Office’s “immigration patrols” systematically targeted Latinos. Police in Arizona’s most populous county were pulling over drivers to check their immigration status without any reason for suspicion aside from the drivers’ race.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ordered Maricopa County to fix its traffic patrols and, later, its internal affairs unit. It likely could have been an inexpensive, quick process — had the sheriff actually listened.

Waste of the Day Arizona County Police Still Do Racial Profiling
Waste of the Day 6.18.24 by Open the Books

Snow had already issued an injunction in 2011 to stop the patrols, but the patrols continued until 2013. That led to a criminal conviction and possible jail time until then-President Donald Trump pardoned the sheriff, Joe Arpaio, in 2017.

Arpaio refused to acknowledge wrongdoing by his police department and was later found to have brought racial bias into his internal affairs investigations. His successor, Paul Penzone, was found in civil contempt of court in 2022 for taking too long to close those investigations, leading to yet another court order and more taxpayer spending.

The police department is now mostly compliant with two of the court orders and partially compliant with the 2022 order, according to the Associated Press.


County officials approved spending $41 million this May to make progress, the most expensive allocation yet.

Maricopa, get it together

Most of the spending so far has gone toward hiring new employees to meet the court’s requirement of three straight years of compliance. The U.S. district court also appointed staffers to oversee the transition and billed Arizona taxpayers for their cost, according to the Associated Press.

Background: Maricopa County’s current Sheriff Russell Skinner made over $157,000 last year, according to Penzone made just over $100,000 in 2022 before he was ousted.

Arpaio lost reelection as sheriff in 2017 but is currently running for mayor of Fountain Hills, a wealthy suburb in the county. He lost by just 213 votes in 2022. His 92nd birthday is this month.

Summary: Maricopa County can’t get its act together even with $314 million in extra taxpayer money.


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This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO/founder of Before dedicating his life to public service, Adam co-founded HomePages Directories, a $20 million publishing company (1997-2007). His works have been featured on the BBC, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, FOX News, CNN, National Public Radio (NPR), Forbes, Newsweek, and many other national media.

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