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Phoenix, Oct 2 (EFEUSA).- A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday placed heavy restrictions on the Sheriff's Office in Maricopa County, Arizona, including placing an independent observer there to prevent racial profiling on the part of its personnel.
In his decision, Judge Murray Snow said that the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has gained wide attention for his operations against immigrants, has three months to hire a bilingual sheriff to serve as a liaison with the community.
Additionally, a six-member community council must be formed that will meet at least three times per year to guarantee a dialogue between community leaders and Arpaio's office.
Judge Snow ruled last May that the Sheriff's Office discriminated against Hispanic drivers in a lawsuit filed against it by the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU.
Snow ruled that an independent observer is necessary to monitor the actions of the Sheriff's Office and guarantee that the court's orders will be complied with.
With regard to the operations undertaken by the office against immigrants, in which volunteers from the office also participate, the federal judge ordered that the office must notify the independent observer and the ACLU of its plans within 24 hours.
Nevertheless, exceptions may occur when the law enforcement agency deems that this could put an operation in danger, and in that case it must notify the court directly.
After the operation is undertaken, Arpaio will have 30 days to hold a public meeting where he will report on the result and the aim of the operation.
According to the court, the Sheriff's Office will be on probation for three years.
After learning of the court's decision ACLU legal director Dan Pochoda said that "Judge Snow recognizes that Arpaio's office for years has practiced racial profiling and unconstitutional policies (and) that requires a change, including naming an independent observer, gathering information and video of each arrest."