PHOENIX (CN) – A trial on a class action accusing Sheriff Joe Arpaio of racial profiling will begin Thursday, July 19, nearly 4 years after it was filed in Federal Court.
The trial against Arpaio, his Sheriff’s Office and Maricopa County is expected to last 6 days.
U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled in December that the lawsuit could proceed to trial as a class action that includes all “Latino persons who, since January 2007, have been or will be in the future, stopped, detained, questioned or searched by MCSO agents while driving or sitting in a vehicle on a public roadway or parking area in Maricopa County.”
The five lead plaintiffs were detained by sheriff’s deputies during “so-called ‘crime suppression sweeps.'”
“During these sweeps, which have shown no signs of abating since defendants began them in September 2007, large numbers of MCSO officers and volunteer ‘posse’ members under defendants’ direction and control have targeted Latino persons for investigation of immigration status, using pretextual and unfounded stops, racially motivated questioning, searches and other mistreatment, and often baseless arrests,” the amended class action states. “Defendants’ pattern and practice of racial profiling goes beyond these sweeps to include widespread, day-to-day targeting and mistreatment of persons who appear to be Latino.”
The plaintiffs claim “Arpaio participated in the authorization, planning and supervision” of his deputies, and that he is “responsible for recruiting, training, supervising and managing members of the MCSO’s volunteer ‘posse’ that have carried out defendants’ policies and practices.”
Arpaio, up for re-election in November, first took office in 1993.
The class seeks an injunction to stop the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office from exceeding its authority, and from engaging in racial discrimination.
This class action is one of more than 200 complaints against Arpaio in the Courthouse News database.