Judge: Discrimination at Arpaio’s Office Came From the ‘Top Down’

May. 25, 2013 / By

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New America Media, News Report, Valeria Fernández

PHOENIX — A federal judge ruled on Friday that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in racial profiling of Latinos, violating their constitutional rights in his crackdown on illegal immigration. Civil rights advocates expect the ruling to send a chilling message to other law enforcement agencies that are planning to engage in immigration enforcement.

“The order today will have national importance in deterring others across the country,” said Dan Pochoda, one of the prosecuting attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

In his ruling, U.S. Federal District Judge Murray Snow found that sheriff’s deputies engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against Latinos during immigration sweeps and enforcement of state immigration laws.

Snow said in the decision that the Sheriff’s Office had “failed to have a clear policy that required execution of the saturation patrols and other enforcement efforts in a race-neutral manner; made no efforts to determine whether its officers were engaging in racially-biased enforcement during its saturation patrols, and failed to comply with standard police practices concerning record-keeping maintained by other law enforcement authorities engaged in such operations.”

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