From Talking Points Memo:
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has “promoted a culture of bias” against Latinos in his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and communicated to officers that “biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged,” according to a just-released report by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
DOJ investigators found during a three year probe that there was reasonable cause to believe that Arpaio, who fancies himself America’s Toughest Sheriff, and the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) have engaged “in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing” and “engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.”
Arpaio, who endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry late last month, was found to have helped create what one deputy called a “wall of distrust” between MCSO deputies and Maricopa County’s Latino residents.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, told reporters in a conference call on Thursday morning that the department’s “exhaustive” investigation took “longer than it should have” because of a lack of cooperation from MCSO. He said they didn’t go into the probe with any “pre-conceived notions” but followed the investigation where it led.
“What is unique about the findings here is what appears to be at the highest levels of the organization, and that’s an issue — when we were peeling the onion — that began to jump out at us more and more and more,” Perez told reporters.
“I think that we can turn the culture around, but it will take persistence on our part,” Perez said. (more…)
Filed under: Arizona, Law Enforcement, Racism | Tagged: Civil Rights Division, Maricopa County, Phoenix, racial profiling, racially charged, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Thomas Perez, unconstitutional policing | Leave a Comment »