The Arizona Republic by JJ Hensley - July 8, 2011
Claim settled in detainment of 2 Hispanic men
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will pay $200,000 to settle a claim brought by two Hispanic men who accused sheriff's deputies of racial profiling. The claim arose out of one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's worksite enforcement raids, when deputies descended on a landscaping company to search for identity-theft and fraud suspects. Julian and Julio Mora were pulled over outside the business. They later contended they were targeted because of their race. One is a U.S. citizen and the other a legal resident. Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona said the settlement should send a message to police agencies that engage in discriminatory practices. In April, U.S. District Judge David Campbell ruled that Arpaio's deputies had no reason to stop the Moras before dawn on Feb. 11, 2009. He also ruled that there was no reason to make a warrantless arrest when deputies detained the two for nearly three hours. Sheriff's deputies arrested 60 employees during the raid on the business, out of 109 employees at the site, on suspicion of a variety of crimes, ranging from fraud and identity theft to immigration violations. The Sheriff's Office could not identify the deputies who stopped the Moras because of the large number of deputies working the operation, which made it impossible to defend the merits of the stop, said Tim Casey, an attorney for the Sheriff's Office. "If you can't have the officers, it's an uphill climb," Casey said. "The Sheriff's Office has made some good, positive changes, so when they have 100 deputies doing operations, they're going to record things better so this doesn't happen again."