Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Office Commits Worst Racial Profiling in U.S. History, Concludes DOJ Investigation

perez thomas presser 1 low res.JPG
Image: Jaimie Peachey
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Perez (left) said today that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office abuses the civil rights of Hispanics.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office didn't just commit racial profiling of Latinos, according to the findings of the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation. Rather, Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history, a DOJ expert concluded.

Arpaio and his commanders created a "culture" of abusing the rights of Latinos in the county, assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Perez told reporters in a news conference today.

The findings were a vindication of allegations by critics and profiling victims, despite the lack of punitive measures taken against Arpaio for knowingly creating this "culture of bias."

Some of damning findings in a report put out by the department today (you can find the entire document below) include:

* A study commissioned by the Justice Department found that "Latino drivers are four-to-nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers."

* A fifth of all the immigration-sweep traffic stops violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures.

* Arpaio's anti-immigration squads responded repeatedly with enforcement patrols to complaints about people with "dark skin" or Spanish speakers.

* Jail guards punished Spanish-speaking inmates for failing to understand their commands in English, sometimes putting them in solitary confinement for that reason.

* Jail guards refused to accept grievance forms and "tank orders," which allow inmates to request basic daily services, that are written in Spanish.

* Guards pressured Latino inmates to sign voluntary deportation forms. (That allegation helped lead to today's announcement by Homeland Security that the 287(g)cross-training program  was being taken out of the jails.

* Arpaio's office retaliated against its critics by subjecting them to "retaliatory detentions and arrests without cause, unfounded civil lawsuits, and other baseless complaints."

After the Justice Department informed Arpaio about the probe in March, 2009, the Sheriff's Office refused to cooperate. It took a lawsuit and court order to get Arpaio to budge.   

Hundreds of people were interviewed, thousands of documents were reviewed, and the county's jails were inspected in the Justice Department probe. Investigators discovered a "widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminate against Latinos." The "typical characteristic" of the sheriff's Human Smuggling Unit is one of prejudicial harassment "rather than the effective enforcement of immigration law," the DOJ report says.

Witness accounts of racial profiling were found to be consistent with the accusations against deputies. Two examples are given:

* A legal U.S. resident who allegedly failed to use his turn signal was made to sit on a curb for 15 minutes, then arrested and jailed for 13 days on a bogus charge that was dismissed in court.

* A legal U.S. resident and his U.S. citizen son invited deputies into their home during a raid on a suspect drop-house next door. The deputies proceeded to search the home without consent or a warrant, handcuffed the man and his son, then had them sit on the sidewalk next to the people being busted from the neighboring house. They were detained for an hour before being released without any citation.

The Justice Department says it gathered "many" similar examples. That's no surprise to close observers of the MCSO. We reported back in 2009, for instance, how one deputy enjoyed busting illegal immigrants for seat-belt violations that weren't really violations.

The way Arpaio and his deputies responded to bigoted complaints was another sign to the DOJ that racial discrimination was rampant in the office.

The Justice Department noted one time when Arpaio told his enforcement chief to check into a report that employees at a Sun City McDonald's were speaking Spanish. Another time, Arpaio thanked a racist letter-writer for his concern about illegal immigrants in Mesa. He
forwarded the letter to Deputy Chief Brian Sands, who "later testified that he assumed that the letter's author correlated undocumented persons with 'dark-complected' people."

A sweep of Mesa soon ensued.

The latter examples show clearly that Arpaio personally oversees and directs some of the discriminatory behavior. Previous probes into allegations of abuse of power and unethical behavior in his office have concluded that Arpaio is a micro-manager of high-profile MCSO probes -- those that get him headlines. Yet when pressed for accountability, Arpaio's m.o.is to cast blame elsewhere, claiming he's far removed from the details of his operations.

Arpaio had a news conference at 4 p.m. today on the Justice Department's findings. Read what happened there here.

Read the complete coverage:

Can Arpaio's "Culture of Bias" Be Fixed? DOJ Plan Involves Training and New Policies

Paul Babeu Doesn't Trust DOJ Report on Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling Practices; Says Timing Is to Distract From "Fast and Furious"

Feathered Bastard: Joe Arpaio Hammered by Politicians, Activists Praising DOJ Report

See our past coverage of the DOJ investigations of Arpaio

Read the full DOJ letter on the Arpaio investigation.

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149 comments
chicpants
chicpants

Looks like Joe is just doing his job, plane and simple, which is more then I can say for most, but as we all know, if you speak out about the government, they will do whatever they have to, to try and shut you up, or put you six feet under. Everyone is afraid to say whats on their minds for fear of being called a racist, its got NOTHING to do with the color of anyones skin, but the fact that they broke the law to come here, and while here continue to break the law, and as long as our own government protects them it will only get worse. 

Ykele6163
Ykele6163

Sounds to me like Joe is doing his job efficiently if these illegal’s come into this country maybe they should learn to speak English more fluently, maybe we need to get rid of Thomas Perez along with Eric holder

Elpitudo
Elpitudo

Well Old Joe just an advice!!!,...When You are in Your pinkies in the in side,...Don't drop the soap because a big Mexi  can will push Your sh!t in,...Heheheheh

Harry
Harry

Why won't this lousy BIRTHER issue just DIE& go away? It wont go away  becauseit's TRUE- Birthers are smeared as kooks & RACISTS- but in fact 17 topForensic Documenrt specialist (used in court to verify documents) have alldeclared the (ADOBE-PDF) birth certificate Obama released on April 27th to be ablatant FORGERY- GOOGLE "MARA ZEBEST" (who has written dozens ofADOBE software books) Hear her stake her reputation that the birth certificateis an absolute FORGERY (a cut & paste composit that was created on acomputer) Bottom line is "OBAMA is a FRAUD who has deceived America"Have you ever read one word about MARA or any other specialist or lawsuit inthe newspaper? (of course you haven't) Have you ever wondered why? More than 30lawsuits have been secretly dismissed in court about Obama’s birth certificate& multiple SSN's used in real estate scams- recently (in the 9th circuitcourt) Judge Lamberth dismissed the lawsuit against his multiple SSN's saying"Obama probably obtained the SSN's illegally but his right to privacytrumps all" This means that Obama does not have to obey the same laws thatyou & I do- He is above the law- and 2 months ago in Georgia a defaultjudgment went against Obama to disallow him on the 2012 ballot in Georgia- butit was later reversed because of behind the scenes politics- and a week later a5+ billion dollar contract to build a nuclear power plant was granted toGeorgia by the government-

Customcarz2007
Customcarz2007

we should just patrol the border and shoot to kill when they come over! mabey they will stop. if you cant do it legal dont come here. 

Jesus de Juarez
Jesus de Juarez

Very Urgent News Alert:Since when is the mass exodus of the citizens of one country to another country considered "undocumented migrants" instead of occupation of the country. When the Hitler invaded Poland, I don't beleive they were called the Germans "undocumented migrants". Do you?Ask Gustavo Arellano when will the illegal Mexican occupation of the United States of America end?     

El Panzon
El Panzon

Joe supporters are SO retarded...We have Americans speaking English o tourists speaking any other language in central America, Mexico ALL the time...do we feel offended because they were speaking a language we don't understand??  NO because whatever they were talking about to each other was nothing of our damn business!! We usually will ask where they from in a friendly way, maybe ask how you said something in their native language "como se dice Gracias??... I came to the conclusion that when somebody feel offended about people speaking in a foreign language is because they believe they are speaking shit on their backs and usually they are people of low self-esteem  "the world is against me" kind of attitude. Anyway, if you really want to overhear what the other people are talking about, just take some Spanish classes and then you'll understand our conversations about what we give our wives/husbands for Christmas,  or how we fight with our toddler to make him brush their teeth...We are not plotting the next 9/11 for Pete's Sake!!!!  

John
John

Is it possible to get Nazi Joe out of office. I for one, will not visit Arizona until he is out.  

Sandis8787
Sandis8787

Welcome to Arizona, who has the most corrupt judicial system in the USA.

Chandris984
Chandris984

They are crooks through and through. We need liberation! Vote them all out!

ShitholeAz
ShitholeAz

This man's dark, dirty soul has dirtied this land long enough. How about some common sense, elect someone new (who is not a crook/criminal) and lift the curse on this shithole. What a change there might be, finally a chance for optimism. The crooks (Arpaio and his lot), turned this community into and kept it a sewer. Many people should be screaming for justice. Since the crook has broke his oath to the People and the Constitution, he (and all the rest, ie, corrupt judges, attorneys and politicians in Arizona) is/are therefore illegitimate.

malapai
malapai

No hyperbole here. Straight up unbiased 'reporting'.

Bobby
Bobby

The worst, the "WORSTEST", racial profiling in ALL OF HISTORY.

I'm i the only one that has noticed how utterly ridiculous the left is when it comes to exaggerating things or people they disagree with. Their agenda is open borders, the Sheriffs is to protect open borders. That is what this is all about. Even ICE found the charges empty.

malapai
malapai

The Perez, Holder, Gallardo and Parraz azz kissers have made it I see.

Bobby
Bobby

Mr. Thomas Perez is involved in La Raza, is he not? Conflict of interest, maybe. A failure to communicate (cool hand luke) with the greater American public therefore? Mr. Perez should recuse himself in the interests of an objective investigation.

malasangre
malasangre

let's start a clock on how long The Biggest Joke in America takes to get in his convertible and head back to carpetbagger land.

Rich
Rich

What would you expect from a hispanic Attorney General? He wants all his goombas crossing over the border. More votes for his socialist party agenda. We need to clean out the riff-raff coming into this country illegally. We need to bring back the "Ellis Island" process where people were screened when they came into this country. No trade, no enter. Poor health, no enter. No sponsor, no enter. Now, our welfare roles are filling up with unemployed, uneducated, dishonest hispanics and blacks that are milking the system dry. We taxpayers are paying the price. Too bad if the truth hurts. Go Sheriff Joe.

Fastandfurious
Fastandfurious

Joe is a profiler no doubt - but when the DOJ gun runners make accusations...I simply cannot find any fiber of credibility...

MRjimvinnburr
MRjimvinnburr

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walley
walley

Exactly what the people in Arizona deserve. First you allow a right to work state where minimum wage workers pay the taxes for their corporate masters. Then you allow your governor to step all over your medical marijuana laws, and round it off by allowing the facist police state that none other than Arizona will tolerate.

If you allow it, you deserve it.

ZangKoo2
ZangKoo2

lol, that dude totally cracks me up dude.www.Total-Privacy dot US

Familylawcourts.com
Familylawcourts.com

The man makes me embarrassed to admit I ever lived there.  What's wrong with Phoenix voters who keep electing a guy who acts like the Constitution is a worthless piece of paper?  On the other hand, whose hiring these cops?http://www.familylawcourts.com...

Hrobster
Hrobster

Oh sure. I've heard a lot of those conversations and they seem to center a lot on rotten Americans that don't want to allow ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.

El Panzon
El Panzon

I Can't imagine calling the Police department in San Salvador....Hello, I hear some gringos speaking English in the Boulevard, Please go to investigate...The first thing they will ask me is what they were talking about, if I said i don't understand but I feel Offended or suspicious, they will hag up on me; or most likely they will tell me to stop being stupid, that they have more important thing to do that harass gringos just because i feel offended followed with something like "Adios Pendejo"...If a third world country understand this; why MCSO doesn't?

malapai
malapai

Just like your hero Obama?

Bobby
Bobby

The carpetbaggers, as far as the American citizen public is concerned, are the foreign nationals, illegaly in this nation, no matter where they illegaly came from. See Americans are equal opportunity deporters, where people that violate their laws go.

Bobby
Bobby

Isn't Mr. Perez a member of La Raza? Conflict of interest maybe? He should immediately recuse himself in order to allow an objective investigation. Uh, I'm sorry, Objective? I suddenly forgot this is the Obama, Arizona suing administration.

malasangre
malasangre

the investigation started with the Bush DOJ.  the announcer was named Perez. where is your point?

Jason
Jason

"What would you expect from a hispanic Attorney General?"

Holder's a Black man, numbnuts.

What would you expect from someone who doesn't have the facts?

Bla
Bla

yup, because a Hispanic, US-born, Harvard graduated lawyer sure as hell can't be objective...

PS: your bigotry is showing

Bobby
Bobby

What, another sophisticated comment. You are at the wrong blog site.

Bobby
Bobby

Sorry you can't get the dope in Arizona that you seem to need, walley. Try California, they'll accomadate anyone, including all the criminals from Mexico Sheriff Joe has booted out.

Hrobster
Hrobster

Gringo's don't go around talking about retaking certain nations, especially if many are in those nations ILLEGALY!! Gringos who live in Mexico are very respectfull of that nation, they have to be because unlike this nation that has become so corrupt, Mexico would kick their asses out and rightly so.

Bobby
Bobby

The point is Mr. Perez is a member of La Raza, which has a very strange motto about Mexicans vs. others.

Bobby
Bobby

What if he was or is a member of La Raza which he was, is. No conflict of interest there, even if he was educated at Harvard?

Bobby
Bobby

And your'e stoopider.

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