Published On: Sun, May 26th, 2013

Federal Judge rules Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tactics are ‘racial profiling’

Popular Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio the constitutional rights of Latino drivers in his crackdown on illegal immigration, a federal judge found on Friday, and ordered him to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions.

The ruling against the Maricopa County sheriff came in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by Hispanic drivers that tested whether police can target illegal immigrants without racially profiling U.S. citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin.

Joe Arpaio lost his first battle in court, facing accusations of 'racial profiling'  photo Gage Skidmore

Joe Arpaio lost his first battle in court, facing accusations of ‘racial profiling’ photo Gage Skidmore

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ruled that the sheriff’s policies violated the drivers’ constitutional rights and ordered Arpaio’s office to cease using race or ancestry as a grounds to stop, detain or hold occupants of vehicles – some of them in crime sweeps dubbed “saturation patrols.”

“The great weight of the evidence is that all types of saturation patrols at issue in this case incorporated race as a consideration into their operations,” Snow said in a written ruling.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s attorneys said today they plan to appeal a federal judge’s finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, helmed by Arpaio, racially profiled Latinos while on immigration patrols.

Complaints of deputies pulling over and singling out people who are dark skinned and speak Spanish to check their immigration status have long been levied against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Tim Casey, the attorney representing Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said racial profiling has never been a policy of the department, but said deputies may have been given faulty training by federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

“The law clearly says you cannot do that, and this judge has clearly made it known that that is not the law,and ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) taught that, and that is not correct,” he said.

Arpaio declined to comment on the ruling. An attorney representing the sheriff’s office said his clients were “deeply disappointed by the ruling.”

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project and plaintiffs’ counsel, called the judge’s ruling “an important victory that will resound far beyond Maricopa County.”

“Singling people out for traffic stops and detentions simply because they’re Latino is illegal and just plain un-American,” Wang said after the ruling was made public.

“Let this be a warning to anyone who hides behind a badge to wage their own private campaign against Latinos or immigrants that there is no exception in the Constitution for violating people’s rights in immigration enforcement.”

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

photo donkey hotey


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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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