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MCSO Is Running Community Meetings In Racial Profiling Case, Federal Judge Says It Falls Short

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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

After systematically violating the rights of Latinos, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was required to make significant reforms. Now, federal judge is suggesting changes to community meetings tied to the case.

The long-running racial profiling case led to many court-ordered changes to the department, which the Sheriff’s Office is still working to implement.

After voters ousted former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his replacement, Paul Penzone, requested that the Sheriff’s Office run the quarterly community meetings meant to explain the progress of those changes instead of the court-appointed compliance monitor.

Judge Murray Snow said Friday that while progress has been made, the meetings run by the Sheriff’s Office have fallen short. He says they have failed, in a reasonable way, to address the Latino communities affected. So, Judge Snow said the meetings should be, again, run by the monitor to be more effective.

For example, Judge Snow said the last community meetings have been in places MCSO patrols now, like Sun City, Queen Creek and Goodyear, and that it has been a year since the meetings were in metropolitan Phoenix. Judge Snow said those meetings are not dedicated to the communities most harmed by Penzone's predecessor.

Snow also suggested the relationship between the community advisory board set up specifically to work with the affected communities and MCSO has deteriorated to where communications can be difficult.

The parties in the lawsuit have two weeks to respond.

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Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.