DECEMBER 21, 2017
Demoralized law enforcement officers in Arizona’s most populous county are leaving in droves while a controversial police monitor gets millions of taxpayer dollars to scrutinize their agency over allegations of racial discrimination, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. Maricopa County is paying a politically-connected firm called Warshaw and Associates big bucks to reprimand the sheriff’s department for immigration enforcement as permitted by key provisions of a state law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. So far, the county has paid Warshaw $10.9 million to oversee the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), a force of about 700 deputies.
The arrangement, ordered by a judge after a civil rights group filed a lawsuit, has created a “harsh environment with harsh standards,” according to agency sources interviewed by Judicial Watch. Monitors often “set up calls” dispatched as real radio calls for service for deputies to respond to see how they engage with minority contacts, sources say. Since Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, who advocates protecting illegal immigrants from deportation, took over in 2016 the agency has had a 10% attrition rate, the records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Ironically, one of the Warshaw monitors assigned to keep MCSO in check is a former Miami, Florida police chief embroiled in a federal corruption investigation. The former chief, Raul Martinez, was among several targets investigated by the feds for helping destroy evidence against drug smugglers, sharing bribes and skimming cash and drugs from seizures, according to a local newspaper report. Martinez invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a grand jury.
To keep the taxpayer dollars flowing into its coffers, Warshaw must claim the agencies it monitors have work to do. In MCSO’s case, Warshaw asserts the law enforcement agency is only 40% compliant with the 2013 court order to end racial profiling. The records obtained by Judicial Watch show that Warshaw bills Maricopa County an average of $2.7 million annually, which breaks down to $227,000 per month or $7,000 per day. The documents also state that the county has approved over $5 million for MCSO monitoring in 2018, an increase of more than $2 million allocated for the cause in 2017. The county’s original contract with Warshaw runs for at least three years and can go much longer so the cash will keep flowing as long as Warshaw determines MCSO discriminates against minorities.
This appears to be a racket that is fleecing taxpayers nationwide under the auspice of police discrimination. Warshaw has also made large sums monitoring law enforcement agencies in New York, California, Michigan and Louisiana. A local newspaper report in Niagara Falls, New York wrote that hiring Warshaw and Associates to oversee the city police department cost taxpayers more than $400,000 and produced no tangible results whatsoever. A northern California news article published last year disclosed that Oakland paid Warshaw $6.2 million, yet misconduct continues. When Oakland hired Warshaw in 2014 to oversee its police department the former chief called it a “travesty of justice” because Warshaw “rules by fear and intimidation.” The former Oakland Police chief also predicted that there was going to be a mass exodus from the department because of the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that Warshaw creates. This appears to be what’s occurring in Maricopa County.
Warshaw and Associates is owned by Robert S. Warshaw, a former chief of police in Rochester New York and Statesville North Carolina who served in the Bill Clinton administration. In 1997 Clinton named Warshaw, who also held government positions in Atlanta and Miami, Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The White House announcement said Warshaw had a national reputation for implementing community policing strategies. Personal connections seem to play a key role in landing the lucrative police monitor contracts. A Niagara Falls news article connects the dots, writing that when Andrew Cuomo got elected New York governor Warshaw was selected to be police monitor. Cuomo’s Lieutenant Governor, Robert Duffy, was Warshaw’s deputy chief in Rochester before Warshaw chose him to be chief when Clinton tapped him.
Judicial Watch will continue investigating the Obama era program that assigns police monitors to crack down on alleged racial discrimination and excessive force among the nation’s local law enforcement agencies. Judicial Watch has several public-record requests pending and is considering litigation in at least one case.
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