DOJ Sues Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Targeting Latinos

DOJ Sues Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Targeting Latinos

"The Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit in federal court today against Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, arising from unconstitutional and unlawful actions by the defendants. ... The complaint alleges that Maricopa County, MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio engaged in and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of:

Discriminatory and otherwise unconstitutional law enforcement actions against Latinos who are frequently stopped, detained and arrested on the basis of race, color, or national origin;

Discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English skills; and

Illegal retaliation against their perceived critics, subjecting them to baseless criminal actions, unfounded civil lawsuits, or meritless administrative actions.

According to the complaint, since approximately 2006, MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio have intentionally and systematically discriminated against Latinos.   They have accomplished this by stopping Latinos in their vehicles four to nine times more often than similarly situated non-Latino drivers.   In addition, MCSO stops Latinos on the county’s roads without the required legal justification.   Also, MCSO detains and searches Latinos on the roads, in their homes, and in their workplaces without legal justification for doing so.   Further, MCSO mistreats Latino detainees with limited English proficiency by ignoring important requests if they are not made in English and punishing detainees if they fail to understand orders given in English." - DOJ, May 10, 2012.