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Report: MCSO still more likely to arrest, cite minorities

According to the latest report on traffic stops, MCSO is still more likely to arrest, cite or search minority drivers.
Credit: 12 News

PHOENIX — According to the latest analysis of traffic stops by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, minority drivers were still more likely to be arrested, searched or cited in traffic stops than white drivers.

The report, prepared by an outside agency, is part of the ongoing federal monitoring of the office after a judge found MCSO targeted Hispanics through immigration raids and other enforcement actions. A federal judge ordered MCSO to stop immigration enforcement and to stop targeting Hispanics. 

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found in contempt of court for ignoring that order and lost his job as sheriff in the following election.  Arpaio was later pardoned by President Trump. 

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The latest analysis of traffic stop numbers show a similar breakdown in the races of traffic stops. Sixty-three percent of drivers stopped were white, 21 % were Hispanic and 7% were Black. The numbers of Hispanic drivers stopped in traffic stops are down two percentage points from last year. 

But the analysis found that black and Hispanic drivers were still more likely to be searched during a stop. Those stops also tended to be longer in duration than those involving white drivers. 

The report also found Hispanic drivers were more likely than white drivers to get a ticket or be arrested as a result of the stop.

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Following the federal ruling, a monitor was appointed to oversee the sheriff's office, but not to run it. The monitor reports to the judge overseeing the case. 

Immigration activists like Salvador Reza believe the new numbers show the monitor should be given more authority. 

"You don't have to fire the whole department," Reza said, "what you have to do is basically give control to the monitor."

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone addressed the report during a Facebook Live Thursday. 

Traffic Stop Annual Report Presentation

Posted by Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, May 28, 2020