PHOENIX — A judge presiding over a civil rights lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has been asked to reopen the case's pretrial fact-gathering phase to explore misconduct allegations against some of the sheriff's officers.
The U.S. Justice Department tells the judge that the investigation into whether officers inappropriately took items off people stopped during immigration enforcement efforts is relevant to the federal government's lawsuit against Arpaio.
The federal government alleges Arpaio's office has racially profiled people, retaliated against its critics and punished Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.
The sheriff denies the claims.
The misconduct allegations are being investigated as part of a separate lawsuit by immigrant-rights advocates in which another judge has ruled the sheriff's office had racially profiled Latinos.