About 

All of the information regarding the Changing MCSO or Cambiando MCSO campaign can be found on this page. The ACLU of Arizona created this page so that the public could easily find information about court-ordered reforms of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

In Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, a case that started in 2008, the ACLU of Arizona and its legal partners are representing plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Maricopa County for racial discrimination against Latinos.

The lawsuit charged that Sheriff Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office unlawfully instituted a pattern and practice of targeting Latino drivers and passengers in Maricopa County for traffic stops, investigations and arrests based on their race and ethnicity. 

On May 24, 2013, Judge G. Murray Snow rendered a comprehensive and meticulous 142-page decision, finding that the sheriff and MCSO had an agency-wide pattern and practice of using race, and not criminality, to target persons for investigation and detention, and for illegal stops and seizures, in violation of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.

In his order, Judge Snow permanently enjoined the specific practices that violated constitutional rights. He has also ordered training for all MCSO deputies, video recording of traffic stops and extensive data collection. Judge Snow appointed an independent monitor and a community advisory board to oversee MCSO’s compliance with the order.

The ACLU of Arizona has been named the plaintiffs’ representative during the remedial period, which will last at least several years, and is working closely with the monitor and community advisory board to ensure real changes takes place within the MCSO. For more information on the campaign, click here

Monitor Team

After determining that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had an agency-wide pattern and practice of using race-and not criminality-to target persons for investigation and detention, and for illegal stops and seizures, in violation of fundamental rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, federal Judge G. Murray Snow appointed an outside monitor, Chief (Ret.) Robert S. Warshaw and his team, to asses and report on MCSO's implementation of the remedial order. 

Click here to read Judge Snow's order appointing Chief Warshaw as MCSO's monitor. 

Chief Warshaw, a former chief of police in Rochester, N.Y., who had signicant experience as a judicially appointed monitor of law enforcement agencies, was nominated for the position by the ACLU. Click here to read Chief Warshaw's mointoring proposal to the court. 

Chief Warshaw was appointed in January 2014 and will be responsible for ensuring that MCSO complies with all of the reforms that Judge Snow has ordered the sheriff's office implement. Chief Warshaw will be holding public meetings regularly and distributing reports on MCSO's progress. Notice of these meetings and these reports will be posted on the ACLU website. 

The public can contact Chief Warshaw's team directly:

  • Email: monitormcso@gmail.com
  • Phone: 602-812-7513
  • Mail: MCSO Monitor Team, 45 West Jefferson Street, Suite 600, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Community Advisory Board 

In May 2014, the ACLU named the three individuals who will serve on the Community Advisory Board that a federal judge created to foster public trust in the MCSO and its reform process. The board will work with the community and court-appointed monitor to gather concerns and provide feedback about MCSO policies and practices. The three-member board includes:

  • Angeles Maldonado, Ph.D., an organizer who has worked with several prominent immigrants’ rights groups in Arizona.
  • Viridiana Hernandez, community organizer and Public Policy Director at the Center for Neighborhood Leadership in Phoenix.
  • Raul Piña is a school administrator and adjunct professor of education.

In May 2013, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow issued a ruling in an ACLU class action lawsuit,Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, on behalf of Latinos in Maricopa County. Judge Snow determined that MCSO had violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by targeting Latinos for traffic stops and had violated the Fourth Amendment by detaining Latinos without valid legal justification.   Judge Snow then issued a permanent injunction as a remedy for the constitutional violations. This injunction order includes many changes to MCSO policies and practices, appoints an independent monitor to oversee MCSO’s compliance and creates a Community Advisory Board, which will meet three times per year as long as the order is in effect.

According to Judge Snow’s amended injunction, the Community Advisory Board will:

  • Facilitate regular dialogue between the monitor, Robert Warshaw, and his team, and leaders of Maricopa County’s Latino communities.
  • Provide recommendations about MCSO policies and practices related to the agency’s compliance with the court’s remedy.
  • Relay and/or gather concerns from the community about MCSO practices that may violate the provisions of the injunction.
  • Transmit community concerns to the monitor for his investigation and/or action.

The monitor will coordinate the Community Advisory Board’s meetings.

To serve as a volunteer member of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) volunteer, click here

Click here to read the ACLU’s legal filing notifying the court of the recent changes to the Community Advisory Board appointments and here for the original (which includes current board member Maldonado).  This filing includes extended bios of the board members.

File A Complaint

You can file a complaint about the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office here. This complaint will be reviewed by the ACLU of Arizona and made available to Chief Warshaw’s monitoring team and the Community Advisory Board.

The public can also contact the MCSO monitor team directly:

  • Email: monitormcso@gmail.com
  • Phone: 602-812-7513
  • Mail: MCSO Monitor Team, 45 West Jefferson Street, Suite 600, Phoenix, AZ 85003

This complaint/legal intake form is not a solicitation or an offer by the ACLU of Arizona (ACLU-AZ) to represent you. We cannot promise you that the information you provide will lead to any specific action on the part of ACLU-AZ or any other party.

If you fill out this complaint/legal intake form, you agree that ACLU-AZ or the National ACLU may use the information you give us, as long as we don’t include your name, address, email or phone number, for one or more of the following purposes: (1) legislative testimony; (2) litigation; (3) contacting a city, state or federal agency; or (4) telling your story to the public, including the media. If ACLU-AZ or the National ACLU wants to identify you, we will contact you prior to doing so.

The ACLU will keep your name, address, telephone number and email confidential unless you give us permission to use it or unless we are ordered to turn it over by a court (although we will attempt to prevent any disclosure).

For more information on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office complaint process program, click here

Stay informed

ACLU of Arizona is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National