The ACLU of Arizona has announced that the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will settle a racial profiling claim in Mora v. Arpaio, as Arpaio's lawyer Tim Casey basically agreed to a $200,000 payout in the case of two men profiled and harassed by a couple of Arpaio's goons.
Deputies raided Phoenix landscaping company Handyman Maintenance Inc. in February of 2009, where a man named Julian Mora was employed. Mora, along with his son Julio, was pulled over (essentially for driving while brown) while headed to work. The Moras were zip-tied and detained for three hours. Mora senior (who is diabetic) and his son were laughed at and mocked by Arpaio's deputies after asking to relieve themselves. Julian Mora is a legal permanent resident, and his son is an American citizen.
The shameful treatment of the Moras is unfortunately not surprising in a state where you have example-setters like Governor Jan Brewer and a guy like Arpaio who gets off on humiliating criminals beyond the bounds of decency. The writing was on the wall for Sheriff Joe and his stormtroopers back in April, when District Court Judge David Campbell ruled that the deputies had violated the Moras' Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and that Maricopa County would be liable for damages.
The main reason the defense threw in the towel in this case was that administrators couldn't pinpoint the exact deputies who pulled the Moras over and made them urinate in the street. Sounds like the thin blue line was in play, and they were just going to bite the bullet.
The ACLU's lead attorney on the case, Annie Lai, said:
"Sheriff Arpaio's deputies are not free to ignore the Constitution when they are enforcing immigration laws. County officials should take heed that the Moras and hundreds of other Latino residents who have been detained in the raids without any evidence of wrongdoing have recourse in the courts."
As the subject of a number of civil-rights violations investigations, the seventy-nine-year-old Arpaio should just hang up the badge already, before he bankrupts the county.