Arpaio went on trial today. A civil rights trial against Arpaio rightly accused him of racial profiling Latinos in Maricopa County. The class-action suit, which started with a complaint by a retired Mexican schoolteacher who was stopped in Arizona in 2007, has grown to encompass all Latinos who were stopped without probable cause from 2007 until the present. "It's our view that the problem starts at the top," said Stan Young, an attorney for the plaintiffs, at the start of the federal trial today.
Unfortunately, Plaintiffs are not asking for damages. Instead, they are asking Arpaio to acknowledge his guilt and apologize. Additionally, they are asking his department to change in policy and STOP RACIAL PROFILING LATINOS!! Unfortunately, when Arpaio is found guilty, he will not face jail time or fines.
"The point is to reform the practices of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and get them to stop racial profiling people because they're Latino," said Omar Jadwat, a senior attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants Rights Project, which is representing the plaintiffs. "As Americans, we expect we're not going to be stopped because of how we look and sound, that we're not going to be arrested because of our race."
Plaintiffs that will be testifying include Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres. He was a passenger in a car driven by a White Driver.Arpaio's cop informed the white driver of the vehicle that he was being stopped for speeding and let him go, WITHOUT A CITATION. Then, Arpaio's cop racially profiled Mauel who was LEGALLY visiting Arizona from Mexico and had his LEGAL VISA, Mexican identification and permit. Manuel was singled out by Arpaio's Cop, even though he was one of several passengers. He was asked to produce identification and obliged. Even though he produced the necessary papers to prove he was in the country legally, Manuel was told he had to exit the vehicle. "After exiting the vehicle, Arpaio's cop pushed Manuel against a Sheriff's Department vehicle and patted him down over his entire body in a rough manner," court documents stated.
Arpaio's cop removed everything from Manuel's pockets and kept him HANDCUFFED for 40 minutes before he was driven to the Sheriff's Office in Cave Creek and PLACED IN A HOLDING CELL FOR FOUR HOURS WITH NO EXPLANATION as to why he'd been arrested. Manuel was not given access to an attorney, phone or food, court documents stated.
Manuel was cuffed again and driven to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix, where he was once again PLACED IN A HOLDING CELL FOR ONE HOUR. An immigration official took one look at Manuel's identification, immediately recognized the COP MADE A RACIAL PROFILING MISTAKE and told Manuel he was free to go.
Now, "Manul is frightened to walk on the street or be seen in public in Maricopa County because he fears that the sheriff's officers will come and arrest him again because he is Hispanic and does not speak English," court documents stated.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office, realizing their guilt, declined to comment on the case, citing pending litigation.
Arpaio is expected to take the stand at some point during the bench trial.