PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will be hosting a community meeting on Saturday to discuss its crime sweep in the West Valley last month. This meeting is required by a federal judge as a result of a racial profiling lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
When Judge Murray Snow determined the sheriff's office had discriminated against Latino drivers, he ordered sweeping changes to how the office does business.
Among the changes Snow prescribed, any major operation involving more than 10 officers must be followed by a community meeting conducted in both English and Spanish within 30 days.
A two-day crime suppression operation the sheriff carried out in the West Valley in mid-October involved dozens of deputies and netted 37 arrests. So, the sheriff's office will be holding a community meeting on Saturday morning at the Litchfield Park library grounds. According to the press release, Arpaio will be attending a Veteran's Day parade instead of the meeting.
The October crime suppression operation was the first one of its kind in two years. The sheriff's decision to carry it out at this time surprised some observers, because Snow's order suggested plans for such operations should be reviewed in advance by an independent monitor, and an indepdent monitor has not yet been appointed.
Snow's order said large-scale operations can be carried out in the interim period in "exigent circumstances."
Arpaio said the operation was targeting gangs in response to the August killing of an MCSO detention officer.
The plaintiffs' in the racial profiling suit submitted a memo to Snow suggesting that it appeared the sheriff was trying to circumvent the order.