Friday, May 24, 2013

U.S. District Judge Finds That Joe Arpaio's Department Engages in Racial Profiling

Posted By on Fri, May 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Looks like Joe Arpaio, who calls himself "America's Toughest Sheriff," will have to stand down for a little while now.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow issued a ruling today, upholding claims that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office targets Hispanic drivers based on their race, a violation of their constitutional rights.

From the Arizona Republic:

Dan Pochoda of the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called the ruling “a real vindication for the community. It was a terrific win — it was a very solid, comprehensive piece of work, and clearly demonstrated the unconstitutionality from top to bottom at MCSO for many years.”


The case began when Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, a Mexican tourist who was in the United States legally, was stopped outside a church in Cave Creek where day laborers were known to gather. Melendres, the passenger in a car driven by a White driver, claims that deputies detained him for nine hours and that the detention was unlawful.

Eventually, the case grew to include complaints from two Hispanic siblings from Chicago who felt they were profiled by sheriff's deputies, and from an assistant to former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon whose Hispanic husband claims he was detained and cited while nearby White motorists were treated differently.

According to the Republic, the ruling is likely to be appealed, though apparently Arpaio's lawyer was still looking over the ruling.

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