Sheriff Arpaio’s Abusive Behavior Warrants Justice Department Lawsuit
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office over allegations of civil rights violations, including the racial profiling of Latinos. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
“The time has come for Sheriff Arpaio to face accusations of discriminating against Latinos. After enduring years of Sheriff Arpaio’s abuse of power and utter disregard of Latinos’ civil rights, we rejoice that the Justice Department has acted to hold him accountable. Our Constitution and our laws prohibit the abusive behavior on which Sheriff Arpaio has built his reputation. Even as the Justice Department seeks meaningful reform and solutions to the shameful practices of Sheriff Arpaio, the nation seeks the same path forward for our immigration morass.”
“DOJ’s findings corroborated what has been a long-standing pattern and practice of unwarranted, unequal, and unconstitutional treatment of Latinos by Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “We welcome DOJ’s lawsuit, in light of the sheriff’s refusal to put in place the necessary mechanisms to prevent abuses of power that have hurt Latino immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.”
As a result of the findings from its investigation, DOJ proposed a settlement that would have required the MCSO to train officers to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops, and begin outreach to the Latino community, and it would have required a court-appointed monitor to oversee these changes. However, Arpaio refused a court monitor, thereby putting an end to negotiations and resulting in the lawsuit.
“We have a high regard for the work that law enforcement officers do every day, as well as their efforts to put in place community policing strategies that uphold the constitution and public safety,” added Murguía. “Sheriff Arpaio’s practices, however, are a black eye on the law enforcement community. ‘To serve and protect’ should not be determined by the color of your skin. We hope that our elected leaders heed this lesson and the dangers of having law enforcement prioritize immigration status over criminal behavior.”