Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been formally charged with criminal contempt for disregarding a judge’s 2011 order to no longer profile Latinx residents.
According to CBS News, prosecutors said that they’d press charges two weeks ago, but had to wait until U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton signed the misdemeanor count this past Tuesday and made it official. If convicted, Arpaio could face up to six months in jail.
The longtime sheriff is currently running for his seventh term and a conviction would not rule him out of running for re-election.
The charge stems from Arpaio’s highly publicized immigration patrols which disproportionately profiled people of Latin descent in the area for nothing more than their race. While Arpaio allegedly admit that he continued the practice, he attests that it wasn’t intention. However, Judge Murray Snow, who made the order in 2011, believes that he truly continued the practice to ensure reelection in 2012.
Arpaio has released television advertisements claiming that the Department of Justice plans to prosecute because of his disagreement with President Barack Obama’s plans for immigration reform.
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