Migrant justice organization Puente Human Rights Movement
is demanding a federal judge to charge Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt of court in a case that proved the sheriff's office racially profiled and unlawfully apprehended Latinos in immigration enforcement operations.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow found Arpaio and three of his top deputies guilty of civil contempt, saying they have not obeyed the court's order to stop profiling. "The Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights," the judge wrote, according to an American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona press release. "They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of the Court, as well as intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct."
The ACLU sued the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in 2007
, and after three weeks of trial it was found that the sheriff's office violated constitutional rights engaging in unlawful traffic stops and racially profiling Latinos, the ACLU says. On October 2, 2013, Snow issued an order mandating "necessary changes by Arpaio and his agency to prevent continued misconduct and safeguard the community from future violations of their constitutional rights," according to the ACLU.
Arpaio and his top deputies continuously ignored the court's orders, which triggered recent contempt of court hearings.
"Arpaio has terrorized the migrant and brown community for decades, this was only a first step in a long struggle for justice against his unchecked racist practices," Puente Movement says on a Facebook events page for a protest happening the morning of May 31
outside the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix. "We must rally and demand Judge Snow to go a step further and recommend criminal contempt charges be brought against Sheriff Arpaio."
"The Department of Justice has investigated and condemned Arpaio before, the U.S. Attorney and the DOJ have [for] long had enough evidence to ... bring charges and take receivership over the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office," Puente adds.