Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has cost taxpayers $100 million. The Republican, who left Maricopa County’s mayor five years ago, has sparked thousands of lawsuits, the cost of which has now risen dramatically.
Maricopa County authorities agreed to pay $3.1 million last week as part of compensation in a lawsuit against a restaurateur who claimed Arpaio damaged his reputation and curtailed his rights by raiding his company.
The legal fees, settlements, and other items the district had to pay as a result of litigation related to Arpai’s business during his six term are now $100 million.
The financial costs of litigation relate to, among other things, deaths in prison, failure to investigate the mayor’s political enemies, and raids on businesses due to immigration.
The amount does not include another $178 million, the AP wrote, as taxpayers reached a 2007 case regarding Arpai’s traffic controls targeting immigrants. About 75 percent of these expenses were reimbursed to Khalifa Sharif’s office, which had to implement court-ordered redress procedures.
Attorney Michele Manning, who was tried by the court in the Arpai prisons death and who successfully represented the county employees investigated, called the mayor’s multiple re-election shameful.
He noted that voters were voting for the controversial mayor, despite accumulating the costs of his case lawsuits. “They didn’t care if they had fun,” Manning said. “It has been repeated over and over again,” he added.
Immigrant advocates have long warned that the mayor’s case should be seen as a deterrent to long-term financial commitments to communities by leaving immigration to local police.
The Republican mayor became famous across the United States when he kept prisoners in military tents in the open air during the heat of Phoenix, ordered them to wear pink shorts and left them to work in chains, a practice that, with few exceptions, ceased to be used in the United States in the mid-1950s.
Arpai’s influence grew in Republican circles when he began taking harsh measures against immigration, which had long been considered the domain of the federal government. However, the mayor’s interventions continued until 2014, when the courts and the federal government denied him immigration powers.
Sharif continued his bid for re-election in 2016 when he was defeated by Democrat Paul Benzon. Arpaia court found guilty of contempt of court in the case of traffic controls targeting immigrants. However, former President Donald Trump pardoned him in 2017.
Eighty-nine-year-old Arpaio is now running for mayor of Fountain Hills. He claims to be proud of how he ran Marikop Prison when he was a sheriff. (čtk)
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