ACLU Sues Sheriff Joe Arpaio for Arrest and Detention of U.S. Citizen
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 4:53 pm
Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio is already being sued by the federal government for alleged racial profiling and related civil rights violations. Now, he’s being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which claims he and his deputies abused their authority to enforce federal immigration laws when they illegally arrested and detained a U.S. citizen and legal resident who were just driving down the road in their pickup truck.
“Our clients suffered egregious constitutional violations and were terrified when held against their will for three hours by armed [Maricopa County] personnel,” said Dan Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona and lead counsel on the case, in a statement released today. “Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies had absolutely no reason to stop these two men and drag them off to a worksite raid. This is yet another example of MCSO sacrificing the rights and well being of workers in the name of immigration enforcement.”
The ACLU is representing Julian Mora, a legal permanent resident who has lived in the United States for 30 years, and his U.S. citizen son, Julio. The two claim they were the subjects of racial profiling — stopped while driving their truck for no reason other than being Latino.
The 66-year-old Julian Mora, who is diabetic, said he and his son were driving to work when a Maricopa County officers cut him off, then ordered the two men out of the truck, frisked and handcuffed them. The officers then transported the Moras to the worksite of Handyman Maintenance, Inc., where the officers were conducting a raid. The ACLU suit alleges the men were held there and denied food, water, or contact with the outside world for the next three hours. Neither was allowed to use the bathroom, although the older Mora has difficulty controlling his bladder due to his diabetes. He said he was finally allowed to urinate in a public parking lot.
The two men were eventually released later that day. They say they still don’t know why they were stopped.
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