On Friday, a federal judge ordered the immediate seizure of thousands of documents and numerous computer hard drives from the office of Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The order was in connection with an ongoing racial profiling case.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow issued the order during emergency hearing he convened after a court-appointed monitor reported to the court that Arpaio had failed to turn over required information.
The order requires that 1,459 identifications taken from people by sheriff’s deputies during police actions be produced and given to federal marshals. Arpaio had allegedly been about to have those records destroyed.
Additionally, Judge Snow ordered that computer hard drives, documents, and other materials related to an investigation involving the judge be handed over to marshals by the end of of the day on Friday.
Arpaio has been a controversial and divisive figure over the years. He forces inmates at the jail he oversees to wearpink uniforms, houses some prisoners in outside tents, and has said that he will engage in racial profiling as much as he wants, despite repeated complaints from residents and the federal government.
Arpaio and other current and former employee also face civil contempt charges at hearings scheduled to begin in September for repeatedly violating court orders relating to the racial profiling case. Arpaio has acknowledged he has committed civil contempt.
In 2013, Judge Snow ruled that Arpaio and his deputies had repeatedly racially profiled Latino drivers during traffic stops and wrongfully detained them. Arpaio disputes this.
The judge also ordered changes to the sheriff’s office and appointed a monitor to oversee operations and curtail the actions contained in the suit.
A civil rights lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department is also ongoing against Arpaio and his deputies, but both sides are reportedly attempting to settle the case.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.