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2 lawsuits vs.Maricopa County Sheriff's Office allege racial profiling

by Sheriff Joe Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 at 4:20 AM

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office faces new accusations of racial profiling from suspects who landed in the sheriff's custody.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office faces new accusations of racial profiling from suspects who landed in the sheriff's custody.

The complaints are contained in a pair of lawsuits alleging neglect and abuse. Both highlight the Sheriff's Office's anti-immigrant reputation and accuse Sheriff Joe Arpaio of failing to properly train deputies how to interact with minority suspects.

Both complaints request unspecified damages and attorneys' fees, and each accuses Arpaio of instituting unconstitutional practices that result in discrimination against Hispanics. The two cases were filed independently of each other.

A sheriff's spokesman this week said the department was in talks with attorneys for one of the cases. The second was described as a harassment suit.

The Sheriff's Office has consistently said deputies do not selectively enforce laws to target Hispanic residents.

The new lawsuits, separately filed earlier this month in Maricopa County Superior Court and U.S. District Court, respectively, allege the Sheriff's Office has ignored the issue of racial profiling instead of addressing it.

Armando L. Nido, plaintiff in the Superior Court case, was arrested in February 2009 after Deputy James Carey tried to pull Nido over in Tempe for having a broken taillight.

Nido's claim states that he knew the "patterns and practice" of the Sheriff's Office to discriminate against Hispanic residents, so instead of pulling over immediately, he drove home. When Nido got out of his car at his house, the complaint alleges, Carey accelerated and ran him over, causing Nido's body to become pinned under Carey's patrol car.

Nido remained pinned until paramedics arrived, according to the complaint, and the commotion drew Nido's mother and brothers out of the house. Both Buena V. Nido and Raul U. Nido also claim they suffered physical and emotional injuries that resulted from the scuffle that ensued with Carey.

Carey stunned Rene A. Nido, Armando's brother, with a Taser and injured him, according to the claim.

The claim alleges the Sheriff's Office has created an "anti-Hispanic sentiment and culture of hatred" that contributed to Carey's actions.

Carey resigned last year from the Sheriff's Office, said Jack MacIntyre, a sheriff's chief deputy. Sheriff's representatives have since been in contact with Nido's attorneys, he said.

The federal case was filed by Celia A. Alvarez, who was arrested by deputies in February 2009 in a work-site raid at a handyman company. Deputies arrested 60 employees accused of identity theft and fraud. In the course of the raid, Alvarez claims deputies threw her against a wall, struck her on the arm and later denied her requests for medical care.

Alvarez's attorney, N. Patrick Hall, said he is still researching what Alvarez was arrested for and what charges, if any, were filed. The Sheriff's Office, however, claims there is no record of Alvarez's arrest in the raid.

"We really shouldn't have to be chasing and wrestling with clouds because the plaintiff's attorneys don't put the minimal amount of effort in to . . . a filing that is almost an abuse of the judicial system," MacIntyre said.
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
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Profiling - Aint no profiling here! Sheriff Joe Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010 at 4:27 AM
What is the law? LastRights Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at 5:23 PM
wow it's called the 6th Amendment Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 at 6:04 PM

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