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Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least $202 million

Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least $202 million
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The cost faced by taxpayers in Arizona's most populous county to reform the sheriff's department will have reached at least $202 million by the end of next year, according to an analysis published Monday by The Associated Press.

The AP reported that Maricopa County officials approved a budget this week that would allocate $31 million this year to cover costs incurred by court orders affecting traffic enforcement and other areas of the sheriff's department. The costs are the result of a lawsuit that concluded with a court finding former Sheriff Joe Arpaio responsible for implementing changes that specifically targeted Latino residents.

The total cost of the lawsuit is expected to reach more than $200 million by the summer of 2022, according to the AP's analysis, and is reportedly showing no signs of slowing down.

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Arpaio was defiant in a statement to the AP Monday in which he defended his department's policy on traffic stops, which a court declared was racially motivated. The former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt of court in 2017 for refusing to obey an order to stop his immigration patrols; he was pardoned two months later by his close political ally, then-President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE.

“It’s a one-side type of story [my critics] want to push out,” Arpaio told the AP. “Don’t blame me for the money being spent.”

The sheriff's department reportedly still faces a backlog of more than 1,700 internal affairs cases and has yet to be declared 100 percent compliant with court orders regarding reforms, according to the AP.

More than 170 people had been hired to help the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office comply with the court orders as of a year ago, and that number is likely still growing, according to the AP.