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Racial Profiling Lawsuit Moves Forward Against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Racial Profiling Lawsuit Moves Forward Against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

A federal judge ruled that any Latino stopped by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies since January 1, 2007, or any Latino who will be stopped in the future, can sue the Sheriff’s Office in a racial profiling class action lawsuit. The ruling also enjoins the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office from detaining any person based only on the belief that that person might be in the country illegally. It’s the latest in a series of legal defeats for Arpaio and the hostile Arizona immigration law he spearheaded.

The scope of the proposed class the order allows is staggering and gives a clear message that harassment of Latino’s, based on an unconstitutional “suspicion” that they are engaging in some kind of unlawful activity, or that their status is somehow unlawful, will not be tolerated.

Arpaio’s lawyers had argued that enjoining the ability to stop Latino’s based on this suspicion would hamper the ability of the sheriff’s office to perform basic law enforcement tasks. Specifically the lawyers argued that enjoining those powers would make it impossible for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and law enforcement in general, to enforce the state’s human-smuggling law. That law is how Arpaio justifies patrol where only Latino’s are detained to check immigration status on other possible offenses.

Which is why SB 1070, and its spawn of copy-cat legislation, has come under such direct constitutional scrutiny. The practices detailed by Arpaio in both the federal and state investigations show a blatant pattern and practice of targeting Latino’s simply for being Latino. And that, in a nutshell, is racial profiling, a practice incompatible with a constitutional requirement of individualized suspicion.

I wonder how many court orders it will take before Arpaio and the others figure this out?

Related Stories:

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Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.

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1:40PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Thank you.

1:39PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Thank you.

4:19PM PDT on May 26, 2012

If this country is headed for civil war, I'm glad to be on the side who has the guns.

2:41PM PDT on Apr 13, 2012

racial profiling IS WRONG,

but for a court to say that EVERY LATINO can sue is outrageous. Its just encouraging more to cross the border illegaly and for people to commit crimes and to hide behind that ruling.

EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect so there needs to be another reason to ask for ID than the color of the skin....its a battle that will not be won unless the border situation is under control and existing laws are enforced..then maybe you wouldnt have a man losing it cuz hes overwhelmed trying to do it all himself. (Im not condoning his actions just saying..I lived an hour from the border for 11 years and its a crazy place people)

11:44AM PDT on Apr 13, 2012

Rush Limbaugh with a gun. The republican candidates love him; how sad is that?

10:13PM PST on Jan 15, 2012

You might as well stop everyone for an ID to be fair....

5:34PM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Yes, get him!

1:25AM PST on Jan 8, 2012

Thanks for the article.

1:18PM PST on Jan 6, 2012

I have several friends in Arizona who are of Native American descent. Because they have darker skin, every time they go through Maricopa County, they are stopped & asked to produce proof that they are not illegal immigrants. My friends were born in the United States as were their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. The only reason they are stopped is because they "look" Latino.

There is nothing in Federal law that gives law enforcement permission to demand proof of citizenship from anyone or to stop & question them without probable cause that they have done something illegal. Being or looking Latino is not a crime. Unless, of course, you happen to live in or travel through Maricopa County, AZ.

6:13AM PST on Jan 6, 2012


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