NCLR Supports DOJ Lawsuit Against Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
May 10 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington—Today, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over a number of alleged civil rights violations, including discriminatory practices targeting Latinos. NCLR (National Council of La Raza) firmly stands behind the DOJ’s decision to file suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and, once again, calls on Sheriff Arpaio to resign.
“DOJ’s findings corroborated what has been a long-standing pattern and practice of unwarranted, unequal, and unconstitutional treatment of Latinos by Sheriff Joe Arpaio,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR. “We welcome DOJ’s lawsuit, in light of the sheriff’s refusal to put in place the necessary mechanisms to prevent abuses of power that have hurt Latino immigrants and U.S. citizens alike.”
As a result of the findings from its investigation, DOJ proposed a settlement that would have required the MCSO to train officers to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops, and begin outreach to the Latino community, and it would have required a court-appointed monitor to oversee these changes. However, Arpaio refused a court monitor, thereby putting an end to negotiations and resulting in the lawsuit.
“We have a high regard for the work that law enforcement officers do every day, as well as their efforts to put in place community policing strategies that uphold the constitution and public safety,” added Murguía. “Sheriff Arpaio’s practices, however, are a black eye on the law enforcement community. ‘To serve and protect’ should not be determined by the color of your skin. We hope that our elected leaders heed this lesson and the dangers of having law enforcement prioritize immigration status over criminal behavior.”
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
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