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

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.