Sheriff Joe Arpaio likes to call himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” as he is constantly in the spotlight for his controversial stance on how to handle undocumented immigrants. Now, his office has been told to pay $200,000 to two Hispanic men who were unlawfully detained when they were swept up in a raid.
The Arizona sheriff of Maricopa County has made himself quite the spectacle with his antics and methods of punishing those he and his deputies see as criminals.
In February 2009, Julian and Julio Mora were on their way to work when Maricopa a team of dozens of deputies and volunteers with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office raided the Mora’s employer, Handyman Maintenance Inc., a landscaping business. The father and son were just outside of the company’s grounds when they were stopped, handcuffed with zip-ties, and detained for being suspected of being in the country illegally.
The two men spent hours in jail though one is a legal resident and the other a U.S. citizen. They were finally released when deputies established that they were in the U.S. legally and had committed no crime.
The men sued to the sheriff’s office, and in April, a judge ruled that the Mora’s constitutional rights had been violated, as they are constitutionally protected from unreasonable search and seizure, and the deputies had no lawful reason to detain them.
Thursday, a settlement was reached, and Arpaio’s office will pay the Mora’s $200,000.
In a statement, their lawyer, Annie Lai, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said, “Sheriff Arpaio’s deputies are not free to ignore the constitution when they are enforcing immigration laws.”