US Sues ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’

Posted May 10th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Justice Department is suing the Arizona officer who calls himself “America's Toughest Sheriff” for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of Latinos.

Federal officials say Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his officers have consistently stopped and arrested people based on their race, color, or national origin.

They say Arpaio's department pulled over up to nine times as many Latino drivers as non-Latinos.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez accuses the sheriff's office of abusing its power, ignoring sound police practices, and disregarding the Constitution.

Sheriff Arpaio has not responded to the lawsuit. But he has said he does not tolerate racism and will not let anyone tell him how to run his police department.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to rule on Arizona's controversial state law requiring anyone police suspect is an illegal immigrant to present proof of citizenship upon demand.

Critics say the law is racial profiling. Supporters say the federal government is not doing enough to fight illegal immigration, forcing states to take the responsibility.