Arizona taxpayers pay through the nose for Sheriff Arpaio's illegal antics

Photo: Gage Skidmore (cc)

A constant stream of settlements, penalties and legal fees spews out of the tax coffers in Maricopa County, Arizona, all racked up by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The latest, reports The Republic, is the $21.9m tag resulting from his racial profiling policies, which resulted in another courtroom pounding last May. Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports on the outcome of Arpaio's 22-year stint: reckless spending, pervasive incompetence, and federal oversight

Maricopa County also incurred nearly $1.6 million in legal costs and expenses as of late December to defend itself in the case. That cost is expected to grow because the Sheriff’s Office is appealing the judge’s ruling.The Sheriff’s Office is complying with the judge’s order while the appeal is pending.

“We disagree with a number of conclusions the court reached and will be challenging that,” said Tim Casey, Arpaio’s attorney. “At the same time, in good faith, we will be honoring the letter and the spirit of the court’s order complying with that. If something were to happen on appeal that changes it, we’ll cross that bridge.”

And this is just one Arpaio lawsuit: the only about Mexican tourists, legally in the country, who get detained by his officers for hours at a time. Meanwhile, The Atlantic reports, Arpaio is encouraging "Above the Law" star Steven Seagal to run for state governor. The Republic's editorial board seems to have had enough: "The media-savvy sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, likes to tout himself as the country’s toughest sheriff. There’s not much evidence to support the title. So about a new one: America’s Most Expensive Sheriff."