The self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America” is in trouble with the U.S. Department of Justice. According to America’s Voice Online, Maricopa County (AZ) Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reign may end soon, as a result of a three-year investigation conducted by the department. Those familiar with Arpaio know of his controversial practices aimed at cracking down illegal immigration, and the fierce criticism he has received because of it. The Justice Department has reportedly found evidence that Arpaio has “engage[d] in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing,” through the investigation. According to the department, Arpaio’s office has a “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations.”
Frank Sharry, who directs America’s Voice Education Fund, said that Arpaio has “targeted Latinos by the color of the skin and the language that they speak” for years “and bragged about it. He said the yesterday’s announcement from the Justice Department “is a critical step toward ending racial profiling and discrimination in law enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona.”
Several years ago, it was reported that Arpaio’s staff refused an undocumented woman from being unshackled while she gave birth. Alma Minerva Chacon was nine months pregnant while she was detained and according to Telemundo 52, Sheriff Arpaio’s staff refused to allow her to hold her baby after she gave birth. They also reportedly warned her that if no one picked up her child within 72 hours, she would be turned over into state custody.
“Today, in Maricopa County, DOJ's [Department of Justice] Civil Rights Division, under the direction of Tom Perez, let Arpaio and his followers know that the Constitution and the rule of law do matter,” Sharry concluded.
Arpaio is not stranger to controversy. According to The New York Times, the sheriff was previously accused by the Justice Department of engaging in “unconstitutional policing” by unfairly targeting Latinos for detentions.
What do you think about the steps that the Justice Department is taking against Sheriff Arpaio?