The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it is suing Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for civil rights violations and fostering discrimination against Latinos.
Reuters reports that the suit said “Latinos in Maricopa County are frequently stopped, detained, and arrested on the basis of race, color or national origin.” “In addition, defendants MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) and Arpaio pursue a pattern or practice of illegal retaliation against their perceived critics by subjecting them to baseless criminal action, unfounded civil lawsuits or meritless administrative actions.”TPM adds that Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, told reporters in a conference call today: “All of the alleged violations that our outlined in the complaint are the product of a culture of disregard for basic rights within the culture of MCSO that starts at the top and pervades the organization.”
“By bringing this suit, the Justice Department has taken an important step toward ending the rampant racial profiling and illegal stops by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” said Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This development adds to the momentum as the ACLU and its partners will be going to trial against Sheriff Arpaio in July. We will put forward evidence we have uncovered over the past three years to prove that MCSO has systematically violated the rights of Latino residents of Maricopa County in the name of immigration enforcement. This kind of unconstitutional racial profiling must stop.”