Today the Department of Justice concluded its three year investigation into civil rights violations in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. In response to the detailed report, Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued the following response:
“The Department of Justice report formally and forcefully describes a civil and human rights crisis in Maricopa County; one that has moved hundreds of thousands to demonstrate around the globe over the past several years.
It is a ringing indictment of a Sheriff’s office that has ‘treated all Latinos as if they were undocumented’ and the federal immigration contracts that have made such prejudice possible. It is the most detailed chronicle of the failed end result of the federal programs that make monsters out of local law enforcement.
We have waited three years for federal intervention to restore justice in Maricopa County. Now that the Department of Justice has outlined the symptoms, it is time for the Department of Homeland security to terminate its immigration contracts with the Sheriff as a first step toward a .”
The Department of Justice report outlines years of biased policing that created “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations (page 2).”
It goes on to detail that deputies used excessive force against Latinos and built a “wall of distrust between MCSO officers and Maricopa County Latino residents (page 2).”
The report finds, “Since roughly 2007, in the course of establishing its immigration enforcement program, MCSO has implemented practices that treat Latinos as if they are all undocumented, regardless of whether a legitimate factual basis exists to suspect that a person is undocumented (page 6).”
“Sheriff Arpaio has promoted a culture of bias in his organization and clearly communicated to his officers that biased policing would not only be tolerated, but encouraged (page 9).”
The Full Report can be read: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php