DOJ civil rights case against Arpaio, county to go forward

December 13, 2012

Maricopa County and its sheriff, Joe Arpaio, have lost a bid to dismiss a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights lawsuit. KJZZ's Jude Joffe-Block reports the suit was filed in May, and alleges systematic discrimination against Latinos.

The suit initially named Sheriff Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County as defendants. All three tried to get the case against them tossed out.

But federal district Judge Rosalyn Silver only dismissed the claims against the Sheriff's Office, citing recent case law that found that agency can't be sued. That means the case against the county and the sheriff will go forward.

The lawsuit alleges unfair treatment of non-English-speaking inmates in the Maricopa County jail, and discriminatory traffic enforcement, allegedly leading to Latinos being four to nine times more likely to be stopped.

This summer, a separate class action suit that accused the same defendants of discriminating against Latinos went to trial. A ruling in that case is still pending.

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