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Home / courts / Closing arguments filed in Arpaio racial profiling case

Closing arguments filed in Arpaio racial profiling case

With one of his attorney's, Joseph Popolizio listening, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, answers questions regarding the Department of Justice announcing a federal civil lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio and his department, during a news conference Thursday, May 10, 2012, in Phoenix. According to the Department of Justice, after months of negotiations failed to yield an agreement to settle allegations that the sheriff's department racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols, the lawsuit was filed. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Lawyers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department again told a federal judge Thursday that a group of Latino plaintiffs failed to prove during a civil trial that the sheriff or any of his deputies engaged in racial profiling.

The lawyers filed their second and final written closing arguments in a lawsuit brought by a small group of Latinos who accused Arpaio’s department of discrimination, saying they were pulled over only so authorities could perform immigration status checks.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers also were expected to file written arguments, but they weren’t available by Thursday evening.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys previously said they believe they proved the sheriff had an intentional policy of discriminating against Latinos, and they pointed out that Arpaio sent racially charged citizen complaints to a top aide who planned the patrols.

A seven-day trial before U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ended Aug. 2. Lawyers from both sides filed their first round of arguments last week with Snow, who hasn’t publicly revealed when he will deliver his verdict.

The Latino group claims Arpaio’s deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks during regular traffic patrols and the sheriff’s 20 special immigration patrols.

They also accuse the sheriff of ordering some of the patrols not based on reports of crime but rather on letters from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish.

Arpaio has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying his deputies only stop people when they think a crime has been committed and that he wasn’t the person who picked the location of the immigration patrols.

Arpaio attorney Tim Casey wrote in his closing arguments that the plaintiffs didn’t prove that Arpaio or his deputies made any stops based on discriminatory intent.

He wrote that the plaintiffs “failed to meet their burden of proof” and did not show that the department “had a policy, pattern, or practice that was motivated by a discriminatory purpose.”

The lawsuit marks the first case in which the sheriff’s office has been accused of systematically racially profiling Latinos, and will serve as a precursor for a similar yet broader civil rights lawsuit filed against Arpaio in May by the U.S. Department of Justice.

There has never been a finding by a court that Arpaio’s office has racially profiled Latinos, though a case that made such an allegation was settled last year for $200,000 without an admission of wrongdoing by the sheriff’s office.

The small group that sued Arpaio’s office isn’t seeking money damages and instead is asking for a declaration that the sheriff’s office racially profiles, and an order that requires the office to make policy changes.

If Arpaio loses the civil case, he won’t face jail time or fines. If he wins, it could undercut the upcoming federal case.

If the judge rules against Arpaio’s office, both sides would give the judge input before Snow would impose remedies.

Legal experts say those who filed the case against Arpaio have a high bar to clear to convince a judge that there was systematic discrimination in the agency.

They said it’s not enough for plaintiffs’ lawyers to show that a person or group was discriminated against by sheriff’s deputies. To prove systematic racial profiling, lawyers must present multiple layers of supporting evidence, such as testimony and statistics.

7 comments

  1. LETS SEE IF THE NATIONAL GUARD DISCRIMINATES .

  2. i never learned how truely sick and cruel some humans can be until i encountered a faction of inept and grotesquely irresponsible police forces in Southern AZ. Officers r invested with power that have profound repurcussions on peoples’s lives and it’s a power that is clearly being abused turning the concepts of justice, responsiblity, and accountability on it’s head.

  3. This article is so one sided…its all about HIM and his defense Attorneys and they all LIERS!
    Everyone one knows he is one RACIST PIG and that YES he is committing racial profiling and commanding his deputies to follow his commands…!!
    I hope they have his size pink undies for when he gets convicted!~

  4. He and his gang of thugs are about to face some facts. They can expect some training on how to be a cop.

  5. Penzone for sheriff 2012 – even McCain can’t stand Arpaio citing the sex abuse cases the sheriff ignored while rounding up brown people.

  6. You people don’t seem to think that any of these people so stopped had done ANYTHING to warrant the stops…..are you as one sided in your thinking when someone breaks in to your home, or steals your car?? Hello?? anybody home??
    Has your neighbor’s kid never exceeded the speed limit (I know YOU haven’t)? All of the above are reasons the police can legally stop a driver. In point of fact, that’s what they are paid to do. It’s supposed to keep our streets safer.

  7. It’s time that all you whiners that claim the Police are picking on all the poor Hispanics and Blacks, to face the music and start placing the blame on the criminal Blacks and Hispanics who are giving the law abiding Blacks and Hispanics a bad name. Why is it not racial profiling if a Black Officer stops a white driver in Montana? As far as this particular case goes… if that Sheriff’s Office is doing 2-3 sweeps per week and 57% of the people arrested are in this country illegally… DON’T YOU THINK THE SWEEPS ARE WORKING? Seriously, would you rather the Police sit on their asses and eat donuts while this country gets over run with ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS? Sorry if you get stopped once in awhile and are Hispanic and in this country legally… suck it up and quit being such a baby!!!

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