Monday, February 16, 2009

Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus Calls for Federal Investigation and Forum

NEWS RELEASE
Arizona State Senate
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007
Senator Richard Miranda, D-13
(602) 926-5911
February 16, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE

Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus Calls for Federal Investigation and Forum


STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix –
Members of the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus are holding a press conference calling on the Department of Justice and Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to investigate Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 17
Time: 12 p.m.
Location: House Lawn, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ


“The Maricopa County Sheriff has a history of discriminating against Hispanic citizens and non-citizens alike,” said Sen. Richard Miranda, Co-Chair of the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus. “As an example, in 2007 and through 2008, the Sheriff targeted Hispanic neighborhoods for “crime suppression” sweeps. The sweeps used saturation patrols to stop residents in densely populated Hispanic neighborhoods for trivial traffic violations. These residents, often stopped for a cracked windshield or a broken taillight, were intimidated and subjected to needless encounters with Sheriffs’ officers.”

The Caucus strongly supports the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s call for an investigation of Sheriff Arpaio’s disregard for rights of Hispanic relations. The Caucus has extended an invitation to House Judiciary Chair, John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan), and representatives from the Department of Justice and Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to an informational forum that will be held in Phoenix in March to hear about the violations from the local community.

“The Maricopa County Attorney, who represents the Sheriff, has publically opined that segregating inmates by race is unconstitutional. Yet despite these statements, neither the county attorney, nor anyone else with jurisdiction over these matters has done anything to determine whether any of these continuing actions by the Sheriff are legal,” said Sen. Miranda. “This inaction, by officials who are elected or appointed to protect the civil rights of all people within the borders of our county, is intolerable.”

The Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus sent a letter to the Department of Justice and Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement calling for action.

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Additional Media Contact: Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez, 602-926-4477 jtejedadegomez@azleg.gov

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