Plaintiffs Rest in Arpaio Racial Profiling Case

Affiliate: ACLU of Arizona
August 2, 2012 11:21 am

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PHOENIX – The plaintiffs rested today in the class action lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, brought on behalf of Latino residents who have suffered racial profiling during traffic stops authorized by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

During the hearing, attorneys for the plaintiffs presented extensive evidence showing that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has conducted operations based on individuals’ race or ethnicity, systematically violating the rights of Latino residents of the county.

Statements By Lead Attorneys:

“Plaintiffs have proven that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office policies have both a discriminatory intent and a disparate impact on Hispanics. The documentary evidence is clear and is only strengthened by MCSO’s unpersuasive efforts to explain it away. We believe that the evidence justifies a finding of a violation of the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions and also the federal Civil Rights Act,” said plaintiffs’ counsel Stanley Young, an attorney with Covington & Burling.

“During this trial, MCSO sergeants have admitted that MCSO considers Hispanic ethnicity as a factor in developing suspicion of illegal immigration status during traffic stops. Top brass from the Sheriff to line sergeants circulated overtly anti-Latino materials to deputies, sending the message that race discrimination would be tolerated. And we heard about the results, from plaintiffs and class members who movingly testified about humiliating interrogations about their nationality and immigration status during traffic stops. And there is clear pattern of Latinos being singled out for traffic stops. It is time for these illegal police practices to end,” said Cecillia Wang, Director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, MALDEF and pro bono co-counsel at the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP represent five individuals, as well as Somos America, a coalition of immigrants’ rights activists. All Latinos who have been or will be detained under Arpaio’s unlawful racial profiling practices are members of the class action.

More information on the case, Melendres v. Arpaio, is available online at:

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