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Sheriff Arpaio Faces|More Civil Rights Claims

PHOENIX (CN) - Two more civil rights complaints against self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio and his officers cite a "culture of hatred" of Hispanics, and racial profiling. One man claims a Maricopa County deputy ran him over and left him pinned under the police car in front of the man's own home, while assaulting and arresting family members who tried to help him.

The other complaint claims that sheriff's officers in black ski masks beat a Hispanic woman on a "crime sweep" of a business that had a contract with the county, then threw her in jail for two months without allowing her medical assistance for her injured teeth.

In that case, Celia Alvarez says she was jailed for two months without proper medical care after sheriff's made the "crime sweep" on Handyman Maintenance.

In that raid, on Feb. 11, 2009, Alvarez says two deputies "lifted her off her feet, and slammed her face into a wall," injuring her teeth, jaw, face and head.

After Alvarez was interrogated and placed "in a line with many other HMI employees, one of the deputies, completely unprovoked, violently struck" her on the arm with the metal part of a clipboard, she says. She was taken to county jail, where she was subjected to an "invasive and embarrassing strip search" in front of many deputies.

She sought medical attention, but was told that "her first opportunity for medical care would not occur for at least two weeks." She says she was jailed for more than two months without proper medical attention - for so long that "doctors have been unable to repair her condition even through surgery."

Alvarez seeks damages for illegal search and seizure, and assault. She is represented in Federal Court by Steven E. Harrison and N. Patrick Hall with Wallin Harrison of Gilbert, Ariz.

In the other complaint, Armando Nido says he was driving home when Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy James Carey tried to pull him over for a broken tail light. Carey "illuminated his lights but did not run his siren," says Nido, a U.S. citizen.

Nido says he "slowly and cautiously proceeded to drive his vehicle home rather than immediately pull over" because he feared "the pattern and practice that had been implemented and exhibited by" the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office toward people of Hispanic descent.

Nido says he parked in front of his home and got out to speak to Carey, who "accelerated his own vehicle around the driver's side" of Nido's car, running him over.

Nido says he was trapped under the police car, unable to move, and Carey refused to help him or let his family help him. Nido says he "remained trapped under the vehicle until fire and paramedics arrived," with multiple broken bones and burns, all the while suffering verbal abuse from Carey.

After Carey ran him over, Nido says, his mother ran outside and pleaded to help her son, but Carey "struck her in the chest, knocked her to the ground, handcuffed her and arrested her."

Seeing the abuse, Nido's brother, Raul, began taking photos, and Carey and other deputies "tackled him to the ground, took the camera, handcuffed him, lifted him by his cuffed arms, knocked him to the ground again, re-lifted him by his cuffed arms, and arrested him," according to the complaint.

When a second brother, Rene Nido, sought to help his brother pinned under the car, Carey Tasered him, "handcuffed him, lifted him by his cuffed arms, and arrested him."

All charges filed against the Nidos were dropped, according to the Superior Court complaint. The Nidos say sheriff's detectives recommended that the County Attorney's Office prosecute Carey for aggravated assault, but charges were never filed.

The Nidos say there is a "culture of hatred" in Arpaio's department "to individuals who appear to be of Hispanic descent."

The Nidos seek damages for assault and battery, negligence, false imprisonment and civil rights violations. They are represented by Robert Ramirez with Miranda and Ramirez.

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