PHOENIX - A federal judge who ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office racially profiled Latinos in immigration and traffic patrols determined Wednesday that hundreds of deputies and employees completed a court-mandated assignment to get familiar with his verdict.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found that the sheriff's office complied with the order he issued April 17 for deputies, civilian employees and posse volunteers to read key findings of his 2013 ruling.
Jail volunteers who teach courses or provide religious services were exempted. Employees were required to sign a form stating that they read and understood the summary. The sheriff's office will provide copies of the forms to a court-appointed monitor who is also tasked with overseeing new training.
The judge will next appoint an attorney and consultant to work with deputies and employees to make sure they fully understand the findings before they undertake a yet-to-be determined training session on avoiding racial profiling.
"I want to make sure that it is a training that is of value and can be appreciated and understood by the officers receiving it," Snow said.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has vigorously denied his agency racially profiles people and has appealed Snow's ruling.
Tom Liddy, a lawyer representing Arpaio, said the office worked vigorously through the Easter weekend to make sure employees had read the findings and signed off on them.
"Listen, this is a logistical task that takes some time," he said.
A group of Latinos who brought the case against the sheriff last year said they were pleased Arpaio complied with the order.
"Finally, Joe Arpaio is under the leash," activist Salvador Reza said.
Snow concluded last year that Arpaio's office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols and unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people during traffic stops.
The judge ordered the sheriff's office to install video cameras in hundreds of patrol vehicles, set up a seven-person team of sheriff's employees to help carry out the judge's orders and give additional training to deputies in an effort to ensure they aren't making unconstitutional traffic stops.
Since mid-March, three sheriff's officials, including Arpaio, have twice been ordered to appear in court to account for inaccurate statements given to deputies and employees about the profiling decision. The judge said the inaccurate statements have led to misunderstandings about the ruling within the sheriff's office.