July 20, 2012
Letters purporting to offer information about illegal immigrants are among a vast array of evidence to be introduced in the class-action civil rights trial against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office that began on Thursday in Federal District Court here.
The elected sheriff and his office are accused of engaging in a pattern of discriminatory policing during large-scale operations known as suppression patrols, unfairly singling out Latinos — including citizens and legal immigrants — for stops, questioning and detention.
In one letter to the sheriff, a writer described dark skin as “the look of Mexican illegals,” urging the sheriff to go to a particular street corner on the northern edge of this city and “round them all up.” Another complained about people speaking Spanish at a fast-food restaurant in Sun City, northwest of here. Yet another grumbled about day laborers gathered at a spot in nearby Mesa, asking when officers would check to see if they were there “under legitimate circumstances.”