Lewis Diuguid

Ruling affirms what critics long suspected in racial profiling case

You’ve got to love the American legal system. It often gets the whole justice thing right.

That was the case in a federal court judge ruling Friday that the Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office — as people long suspected — went too far in singling out Latinos during the department’s immigration patrols. That’s called racial profiling, and it’s wrong regardless of how tough Arpaio claims to be in “protecting” America’s southern border.

Some Hispanics alleged in the lawsuit before U.S. District Judge Murray Snow in Phoenix that Arpaio’s deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks, The Associated Press reports. They also accused the sheriff of ordering some immigration patrols, not based on reports of crime, but on letters and emails from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer also noted that Arpaio sent thank you notes to some of the people who wrote the complaints. The judge ruled that Arpaio’s deputies prolonged the detentions of people who had been pulled over.

Arpaio was elected in November to his sixth consecutive term as sheriff. Arpaio won’t face jail time or fines from the ruling. But justice, in a sense, has been served.