Arpaio has also accepted responsibility for his agency’s failure to hand over traffic stop videos in the racial profiling case and for scuttling a plan to gather the recordings from officers once some of the videos were discovered.
PHOENIX (AP) – A new round of contempt-of-court hearings began Thursday in Phoenix against the sheriff in the nation’s sixth-largest city over his defiance of a judge’s order to stop carrying out his signature immigration patrols.
Sheridan and Arpaio, who bills himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and is known for his stance on illegal immigrants, already have admitted committing civil contempt by violating court orders but have said it was not deliberate.
“At what level do we have to spend on the sheriff’s actions before there is a huge outcry by the public?” asked Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, one of Arpaio’s harshest longtime critics and a member of the board that approves spending of tax dollars in the profiling case.
Tensions escalated in recent months as the sheriff’s office failed to turn over records.
There is no set range for the fines that Arpaio could face as a result of the hearings.
The sheriff and his lawyer, John Masterson, have declined to comment on the upcoming hearings or the rising taxpayer costs from the case.
Snow has said he will use the testimony to help decide what to do about non-compliance with his orders, which could include imposing fines, restitution and greater oversight of operations conducted by the sheriff’s office.
Jerry Sheridan acknowledged receiving emails about the agency’s violation of court orders but said he delegated the reading of the messages to subordinates. And taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill.
Throngs of attorneys, civil-rights advocates and Sheriff’s Office employees filed into federal court early Thursday in anticipation for a full courtroom.