The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina announced Tuesday that the Department of Justice asked a federal court to rule as soon as possible with an eye toward halting discrimination against Latinos by the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Terry Johnson fosters an anti-immigrant culture, the ACLU said, citing the contents of a motion from federal prosecutors asking for summary judgment in their lawsuit against the law enforcement agency.
Under Johnson, the force “intentionally discriminates against Latino persons in Alamance County by targeting Latinos for investigation, detention and arrest, and conducting unreasonable seizures and other unlawful law enforcement actions in violation of the United States Constitution and federal law,” according to the suit filed by the Department of Justice in December 2012.
Among the evidence that federal authorities included in the recent motion is information showing that an ACSO captain sent his subordinates a videogame with the premise of shooting Mexican children and pregnant woman as well as other “wetbacks.”
The North Carolina ACLU has been cooperating with federal authorities since the start of the investigation.
“The abhorrent and unconstitutional practices outlined in this motion should not be tolerated in our state and cannot be allowed to continue,” Raul Pinto, staff attorney for the ACLU-NC Legal Foundation, said in a statement.
Johnson is a popular Republican sheriff who was first elected in 2002 and has since earned a reputation for making life difficult for Hispanics, who make up 11 percent of the county’s population.