A federal judge ruled that Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office has profiled Latinos in routine patrols for undocumented immigrants. According to BBC, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” was sued by a group of Latino drivers who claimed that the 80-year-old’s deputies relied on race when choosing whom to stop during patrols.
Last Friday, the ruling was brought down by Judge Murray Snow, who said that the Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies cannot factor in Hispanic ancestry when making law-enforcement decisions. The ruling came eight months after a seven-day trial.
According to Sheriff Arpaio’s lawyer Tim Casey, his office “has never used race and will never use race in its law-enforcement decisions.”
Cecillia Wang, who directs the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, described the ruling as an “important victory that will resound far beyond Maricopa County.”
“Singling people out for traffic stops and detentions simply because they're Latino is illegal and just plain un-American," she added.
During the trial, officials from the state’s Maricopa County testified that the sheriff's anti-illegal immigrant squad zeroed in on locations where Latino day laborers gathered to await work.
In a 142-page decision, Judge Snow wrote: “The evidence demonstrates that the [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office] specifically equated being a Hispanic or Mexican (as opposed to Caucasian or African-American) day labourer with being an unauthorized alien.”
As a result of the new ruling, Maricopa County deputies are barred from using Hispanic ancestry or race in making law-enforcement decisions.
This isn’t the first time Sheriff Arpaio has been sued. Last year, two news executives for the Phoenix New Times planned on suing the notorious octogenarian for their arrests in 2007.
As for this new ruling, Arpaio’s camp plans on appealing Judge Snow’s decision.
Do you think of this ruling?