Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sanctions for Ariz. law force?

By Jacques Billeaud | Associated Press
Feb. 5, 2010

PHOENIX - A federal judge will decide whether to impose sanctions against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for its acknowledged destruction of police records in a lawsuit that accuses deputies of racially profiling countless Hispanics in immigration sweeps.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow heard arguments yesterday over whether the law enforcement agency should be punished for throwing away and shredding officers' records of traffic stops and for not handing over all its e-mail about the sweeps.

Since early 2008, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has run 13 immigration and crime sweeps consisting of deputies and posse volunteers who flood an area of a city - in some cases heavily Latino areas - to seek out traffic violators and arrest other violators.

The lawsuit alleged that officers based some traffic stops on the race of Hispanics who were in vehicles, had no probable cause to pull them over, and made the stops so they could inquire about their immigration status.

Arpaio is known for tough jail policies and pushing the bounds for how local law enforcement agencies can confront illegal immigration. He has denied the racial-profiling allegations.

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