Arizona Sheriff Sued By Justice Department
The Department of Justice has sued Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff for violations of civil rights. The DOJ claims the sheriff and his office intentionally denied Hispanics their constitutional rights.
The lawsuit said Sheriff Joe Arpaio used racial profiling, indifferent and sloppy police work and a disregard for the rights of minorities. The DOJ sued the County of Maricopa, Arpaio and the sheriff’s office in District Court. The suit came after three months of unsuccessfully trying to get county officials and Arpaio to comply with the laws of federal civil rights.
Arpaio is up for reelection this November in a county that encompasses the metropolitan area of Phoenix. He is the face of the local effort to clamp down on undocumented immigrants.
The suit by the DOJ alleges that Maricopa County has developed an inadequately trained group of special units that target Hispanics for unjustified and unlawful arrests; has denied Hispanic prisoners civil rights while jailed, and under the direction of Arpaio has apprehended opponents for no specific or valid reason.
The lawsuit also alleged that Hispanics in the country are often times detained, stopped and arrested because of their color, race or national origin. In addition, the defendants in the suit pursued a practice or pattern of retaliating illegally against those they perceived to be their critics through unfounded lawsuits, baseless criminal prosecution and actions at the administrative level that were meritless.
The suit also mentioned the “volunteer posse,” a group of civilians who are untrained and help carry out the anti-Hispanic policies of Arpaio throughout the county of nearly 1.2 million Hispanics.