Justice Department Sues Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio for ‘targeting Latinos’ [View all]
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Source: Talking Points Memo / Raw Story
Justice Department sues Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio for ‘targeting Latinos’
By David Ferguson
Thursday, May 10, 2012 15:19 EDT
The U.S. Department of Justice held a press conference this afternoon to announce its lawsuit against controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for engaging “in a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct directed at Latinos in Maricopa County,” according to “Talking Points Memo.”
Arpaio and his office, says the complaint, which is embedded below, have targeted Latinos in an unconstitutional and unlawful way, in traffic stops and crime investigations. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department allegedly unlawfully detained Latino drivers and passengers, conducted illegal searches and illegally targeted Latino workers in workplace raids.
The suit, filed in the District Court of Arizona alleges that jail officials under Arpaio called Latinos “wetbacks,” “stupid Mexicans” and “Mexican bitches.” It maintains that the man Arizonans fondly call “Sheriff Joe” exhibited “a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct,” singling out “Mexicans and Latinos as different from all other immigrant groups in America” and then fighting the federal government’s attempts to investigate his department.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez traveled to Arizona to announce the lawsuit, which is the culmination of a three-year investigation. The Justice Department announced in December that it had found the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department in violation of civil rights law and was attempting to negotiate with Arpaio to settle the suit. Those negotiations collapsed in April of this year when Arpaio refused to comply with the Department’s requests, stalling the investigation and throwing a series of obstacles into its the path.