Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) - Federal authorities have sued America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff over allegations that his office racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols.
The U.S. Justice Department lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that a culture of disregard for basic constitutional rights prevailed at Joe Arpaio's department in the state's most populous county.
The lawsuit puts the dispute on track to be decided by a judge.
The DOJ first leveled the allegations in December, but held off on filing a lawsuit as it tried unsuccessfully to reach a settlement with Arpaio.
His office is accused of basing some of his immigration patrols on racially charged citizen complaints that reported no actual crimes. The sheriff has denied the allegations.
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