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    In this Dec. 18, 2013, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at a news conference at Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Headquarters in Phoenix

    'America's Toughest Sheriff' on Trial for Racial Profiling in Arizona

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    A civil hearing will begin in Arizona Tuesday as a controversial local sheriff and four other US police officers face contempt of court charges for violating court orders in a racial profiling suit, local media reported Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Charges against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his subordinates include ignoring a pre-trial order to stop detaining immigrants merely on suspicion they were in the country without legal status, according to the Fronteras Desk website.

    The case stems from a 2007 lawsuit filed by a group of Latino drivers against the sheriff's office. In 2013, a US court ruled that Arpaio, who refers to himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff," systematically violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs, according to earlier reports.

    Last month, Arpaio, and a deputy acknowledged they had repeatedly broken the court's orders and offered to personally donate $100,000 to a Latino civil rights organization in a bid to avoid the contempt hearing.

    The penalty for civil contempt of court is usually fines or payments towards victims.

    Racial profiling in law enforcement is a much-debated issue in the United States, especially after the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by white police officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. An enormous outpouring of anger and protest triggered widespread demonstrations and civil disorder across the United States.

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