Judge: 'Sheriff Joe' Guilty of Racial Profiling

Federal ruling calls strategy by Maricopa County's Arpaio unconstitutional

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 25, 2013 6:01 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Joe Arpaio of Arizona bills himself as "America's toughest sheriff," but a federal judge has ruled that he doesn't understand America's own Constitution. In a blistering 142-page decision, US District Court Judge Murray Snow wrote that Arpaio engaged in racial profiling against Latino drivers and passengers in his crusade against illegal immigration, reports Reuters. Snow ordered Arpaio and his deputies in Arizona's Maricopa County to immediately stop using race as a factor in their police work. The sheriff's attorney promised a quick appeal. "In the meantime, we will meet with the court and comply with the letter and spirit of the order," says attorney Tim Casey.

"The great weight of the evidence is that all types of saturation patrols at issue in this case incorporated race as a consideration into their operations," wrote Snow. Says the ACLU's Cecillia Wang, "Singling people out for traffic stops and detentions simply because they're Latino is illegal and just plain un-American." Wang was an attorney for the plaintiffs in the class-action suit brought by Hispanic drivers, which did not seek monetary damages or punishment for Arpaio, only a change in policy, reports AP. Backers of a recall against Arpaio say they hope the decision helps their push to gather 100,000 signatures before a seven-day deadline expires, reports the Arizona Republic.

This Jan. 9, 2013, file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
This Jan. 9, 2013, file photo shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
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