Civil rights lawsuit filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

1:07 PM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona
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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.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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