Arizona sheriff illegally used racial profiling, judge rules

Michael Mello (Los Angeles Times) | May 24, 2013

TUCSON — A federal judge has ruled that the immigration enforcement policies of the man who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff” violated the Constitution by using racial profiling.

For years, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has ordered his deputies to detain people they suspect of residing in the country illegally and to hold them for federal authorities.

The 142-page ruling issued Friday by Judge G. Murray Snow came as part of a lawsuit brought on behalf of Latino plaintiffs who asserted that race was a major factor in initiating immigration enforcement stops.

Snow wrote that the sheriff’s practices did in fact rely heavily on race, violating the Constitution’s 4th and 14th amendments. The 4th Amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure; the 14th Amendment was created to cement the rights of U.S. citizens.

Attorney Tim Casey, who represents the Sheriff’s Office, said the agency would comply with the judge’s order but pursue an appeal.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “is disappointed in the decision reached today,” Casey said. “The position was and always has been that race is not used to make law enforcement decisions.”

He also suggested that if there were problems, they arose from training deputies received from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal agency. “There was some bad training,” he said.

Read more at:,0,1561448.story

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