Richard A. Serrano and Dalina Castellanos
May 11, 2012
The Justice Department has sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, asking a federal court to prevent the brazen and outspoken lawman from racially profiling Latinos, abusing them in his jails and retaliating against his critics.
“The police are supposed to protect and support our community, not divide them,” said Assistant Atty. Gen. Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “This is an abuse of power case involving a sheriff and a sheriff’s office that has ignored the Constitution.”
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, alleges that Arpaio’s Maricopa County department engages in a “pattern of unconstitutional conduct” against Latinos, especially immigrants.