Joe Arpaio, who says he is the “toughest sheriff” in the land, could face criminal charges.
On Friday, federal Judge G. Murray Snow ordered that the US Attorney’s Office determine whether the Maricopa County Sheriff and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan should be charged with criminal contempt of court for ignoring court orders to stop racial profiling of Latinos, according to the New York Times.
The federal prosector does not have to pursue the case and press criminal charges against the two law men. If the prosecutor passes on the case, the judge could appoint a special prosecutor.
Per the New York Times, Snow wrote in his order that Arpaio and Sheridan, “have a history of obfuscation and subversion of this court’s orders that is as old as this case.” Snow also noted that, “there is also probably cause to believe that many if not all of the statements were made in an attempt to obstruct any inquiry into further wrongdoing or negligence.”
The case in question stretches back to 2007 when a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Latino drivers alleging they’d been systematically targeted in traffic stops and immigration patrols by sheriff’s deputies. Judge Snow ruled in the drivers’ favor and ordered changes to police training and procedures.
Otherwise, Arpaio is a delight. He is a proud birther, at least as recently a 2015 CNN interview, and he once put inmates in an Arizona jail on a diet of bread and water for desecrating American flags. Any prison would be lucky to have him.