Thursday, December 15, 2011

Maricopa Sheriff's Department Engaged in Racial Profiling Of Latinos And Unlawful Stops, USDOJ Found

Maricopa Sheriff Joseph "Joe" Arpaio and his department practice and engaged in violatiing Constitutional laws in three areas, the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division reported.

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 15, 2011

Phoenix, Arizona - On Thursday, Thomas E. Perez, Assistant U.S. Attorney General speaking for the U. S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (DOJCRD) in a press conference in front of the Maricopa County jail announced that Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph "Joe" Arpaio and his sheriff's department practice and engaged in violating Constitutional laws. Staff from the Maricopa County jail including Sheriff Arpaio engaged "in a pattern or practice of violating the Constitution and laws of the United States in 3 areas," Perez stated.
Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department (MCSD) practiced racial profiling of Latinos, including illegal stops, detained and arrested Latinos. Secondly, the MCSD retaliated against people who criticize and exposed its policies and practices. Finally, the DOJCRD found reasonable cause to believe that the MCSD operated its jails in a manner that discriminated against Latino inmates that are limited English proficient. They also found that MCSD routinely punished Latino inmates that are limited English proficient when they fail to understand commands given in English, and denied critical services that are provided to other inmates. These actions violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In the area of discriminatory policing, the investigation found that MCSD deputies engaged in unlawful racial profiling of Latino drivers. One of the nation’s leading experts on racial profiling hired by the DOJCRD, conducted a thorough statistical analysis of MCSD's traffic stops and found that Latino drivers were four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. The expert concluded that this case involved the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he had ever personally observed in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature, Perez said.
Perez also says, the civil rights investigation began in 2008 and Sheriff Apraio had resisted in complying to release documents and information relating to the investigation. A lawsuit filed by the DOJCRD forced Arpaio to comply.
The DOJCRD also found three other areas of concern regarding the MCSD. The DOJCRD investigation also discoverd numerous incidents of excessive force used by deputies and staff. The MCSD failed to provide adequate policing services in Latino communities and finally, its failure to adequately investigate allegations of sexual assaults at the Maricopa County jail, Perez, Assistant U.S. Attorney General reported during the press conference concerning the results of the DOJCRD civil rights violations investigation of MCSD.
With the latest DOJCRD investigative results and report, the U.S. Department Homeland Security (DHS) revoked MCSD's 287(g) program, which allowed deputy sheriff's to enforce federal immigration laws. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also restricted MCSD, the use of Secure Communities Program.
Sheriff Arpaio has previously confirmed, that the State of Arizona enacted an employment work verification law by which he can continue to use to check the immigration and legal work status of workers in Maricopa County.

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