Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found in contempt of court on Friday after a judge ruled he violated a court order in a racial profiling case.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow wrote Arpaio, along with three deputies “have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of this court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct,” according to CBS News report.
The civil contempt finding stems from Judge Snow’s 2011 order that barred Arpaio’s department from conducting immigration patrols that targeted Latinos.
Arpaio said the violations were unintentional, but Judge Snow ruled that he intentionally violated the order. Judge Snow also found Arpaio made misstatements before the court while under oath.
“In [his] testimony during the evidentiary hearing, Sheriff Arpaio … made multiple intentional misstatements of fact while under oath,” Judge Snow wrote, according to KHPO.
The American Civil Liberties Union originally filed the lawsuit on behalf of approximately 200 Latinos that were allegedly detained in violation of the court order. After the ruling, they released the following statement:
The court has found that Sheriff Arpaio intentionally and repeatedly violated federal court orders. His recalcitrance ends here. Strong remedies are needed to protect the community’s rights, starting with internal investigations that root out and punish misconduct. Willing or not, the sheriff will be made to comply with the law.
Today’s ruling potentially opens the door to a far more serious criminal contempt finding against Arpaio that could force him to leave office.
Arpaio and his deputies are expected back in court on May 31.
[image via shutterstock]