The U.S. Department of Justice accused Maricopa County, Az. Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office of racial profiling in traffic stops and immigration operations and discriminating against Spanish speakers in the county jails, reports the Arizona Republic. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said the findings were not based on isolated incidents and not gleaned solely from statistics but about real people caught up in the sheriff’s web of unconstitutional activity.
The problem, Perez said, is rooted in a culture in the office that breeds a culture of disregard for the constitution. The office “is broken in a number of critical respects,” Perez said. The Justice Department issued an ultimatum: Come to a voluntary court-enforceable agreement to stop the unconstitutional practices, or face a lawsuit under provisions of federal Civil Rights Act. within two hours of Perez revealing the findings, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the federal government would remove the sheriff’s authority to conduct immigration screenings in the jails. Said Arpaio: “President Obama and a band of his merry men might as well erect their own pink-neon sign at the Arizona-Mexico border saying welcome all illegals to the U.S., our home is your home.”