Judge: Arizona’s Joe Arpaio Racially Profiled Latinos

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 25 2013 11:30 AM

The Self-Described “Toughest Sheriff in America” Is Guilty of Racial Profiling, Judge Rules

150989471
Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio attends the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio certainly knows how to get attention. He has required prisoners to wear pink underwear and sleep in tents. He has removed salt and pepper from prisons in what he described as a bid to save money for taxpayers. Yet nothing has gotten Arpaio more attention than his trademark immigration patrols that he launched in 2006 that a judge has now ruled are illegal. A federal judge ruled that Arpaio’s office violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers as part of his crackdown of immigration violations in the state that is the busiest entryway for illegal immigrants. It was the first time a court has ruled Arpaio’s agency is guilty of racial profiling, reports the Associated Press.

Coming at a time when many in Arizona were demanding action on illegal immigration, Arpaio quickly became a political lightning rod. And Arpaio has insisted the federal government will not stop him from doing what he thinks is right. But now he will be forced to comply with the ruling as the judge said Arpaio’s office “has no authority to detain people based only on reasonable suspicion, or probable cause, without more, that such persons are in this country without authorization.” In their eagerness to enforce immigration laws, Arpaio and his officers ended up violating the constitutional rights of both U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, reports Reuters. Eight months after a non-jury trial, the judge said Arpaio’s office can’t detain Latino drivers and passengers only on the suspicion that they’re illegal immigrants or use race or ancestry as grounds to stop anyone. Arpaio long denied the allegations and will appeal the ruling.

Advertisement

The ruling was an unexpected “gift” for the organizers of a drive to recall Arpaio that had lost momentum in recent weeks as the sheriff maintained a low profile, reports the Arizona Republic. “It’s a gift that reminded us that Sheriff Arpaio has to go,’’ the organizer of the campaign tells the paper.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.