Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sheriff Joe "Defiant" in Face of Justice Department Report

Earlier this week, ImmigrationProf posted the Department of Justices report on the pattern and practice of civil rights violations of Latinos an dimmigrants by the Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff's office.

The Arizona Republic reports that Sheriff Joe Arpaio "remained defiant . . . Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Justice Department conclusions made public this week focused on `isolated incidents.' He said he is willing to enter talks with federal officials but will not allow them to monitor his office."

It is hard to see how Sheriff Arpaio can say that the Justice Department focused on "isolated incidents" (although it is somewhat startling that he does not deny that any of the incidents occurred). Offering details, dates, and more, the Justice Department concluded that the County engaged in discriminatory policing, including racial profiling of Latinos and discriminatory treatment of limited English proficient inmates. The Department concluded that the County engages in police practices that violate the U.S. Constitution and various federal statutes. The report found a "pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos at MSCO that reaches the highest levels of the agency.” (emphasis added). “In [Maricopa County Sheriff Office's] jails, detention officers directed racial slurs at Latino inmates. . . . Our investigation also found that MSCO detention officers called Latinos `wetbacks,’ `Mexican bitches,’ `fucking Mexicans,’ and `stupid Mexicans’ when either talking among themselves or addressing Latino inmates.” Sheriff Arpaio has promoted a culture of bias in his organization and clearly communicated to officers that biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged.” (emphasis added). It sounds like the Justice Department found more than simply a few "isolated inclidents" of discrimination but a pattern and practioce of egregious discrimination against Latinos.


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