DOJ: NC Sheriff Targeted Latino 'Taco Eaters'

He's under investigation for illegally targeting Latinos to have them deported

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 19, 2012 1:04 PM CDT

(Newser) – North Carolina's Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson is a the center of a scathing Justice Department report, which alleges that he and his deputies routinely targeted Latinos at traffic stops in a "deeply rooted" culture of discrimination, reports Fox News. According to the report, Johnson told his deputies to screen Latino motorists and arrest them for minor traffic infractions—presumably to run immigration checks—while letting white drivers off with a warning. "If you stop a Mexican, don't write a citation, arrest him," Johnson is quoted as instructing deputies. He then attempted to cover it up by reporting many of the Latinos in the county jail as black.

The report goes on to cite some nasty quotes from Johnson. Among them, he referred to Latinos as "taco eaters" who were prone to drinking and dealing drugs. The report references a 2007 quote from a newspaper in which Johnson said, "In Mexico, there's nothing wrong with having sex with a 12- or 13-year-old girl." Further, the feds allege that Johnson obstructed justice during a 2010 investigation, by falsifying statements and withholding evidence, and refused to talk without a lawyer present. "We have never discriminated against Spanish-speaking persons in any way, shape, or form," said Johnson in response to the report. "The Obama administration has decided to continue to wage war on local law enforcement."

Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson stands to the side as his attorney, Chuck Kitchens, speaks to reporters Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Graham, N.C.   (AP Photo/Burlington Times-News, Scott Muthersbaugh)
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