Photo: Arpaio Unfairly Targets Latinos Says DOJ
Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department (DOJ) today announced its findings in the ongoing civil rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
The Justice Department found reasonable cause, after opening an investigation in June, 2008, to believe that under the leadership of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the office has engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law.
Specifically, the DOJ found that:
• Discriminatory policing practices including unlawful stops, detentions and arrests of Latinos;
• Unlawful retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to criticize Arpaio’s policies or practices, including but not limited to practices relating to its discriminatory treatment of Latinos; and
• Discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English by punishing them and denying them critical services.
The investigation also uncovered additional areas of serious concern, including:
• Use of excessive force;
• Police practices that do not adequately protect Latino residents; and
• Failure to adequately investigate allegations of sexual assaults.
DOJ will seek to obtain a court agreement and will attempt to work with Arpaio and Maricopa County officials to develop and implement a comprehensive reform plan with the judicial oversight.