The Justice Department filed suit Thursday against Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office for unlawfully discriminating against Latinos, and in turn, disregarding basic constitutional rights.
Arpaio said Wednesday that he’ll fight the charges in court. “And then we’ll find out the real story. They’re telling me how to run my organization,” he said. “I’d like to get this resolved, but I’m not going to give up my authority to the federal government. It’s as simple as that.”
Here are some of the disturbing allegations from the 32-page lawsuit about the conduct of Arpaio and his office. (Read the full lawsuit here, and the story about ithere.)
Maricopa County Employees Call Latinos Derogatory Names
Jail employees frequently refer to Latinos as “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” and “stupid Mexicans,” according to the lawsuit. An email that included a photography of a Chihahua dressed in swimming gear with the caption “A Rare Photo of a Mexican Navy Seal” was widely distributed by sheriff’s office supervisors.
MCSO Employees Fail To Provide Assistance To Prisoners With Limited English
The failure to provide adequate language assistance caused some female Latina prisoners to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation, alleges the suit.
Others have allegedly been put in solitary confinement for “extended periods of time” for not understanding a command in English.