By: Daniel Nardini
Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be the toughest law enforcement officer in the United States, but he has now paid a price for that. In a federal court decision, Sheriff Arpaio’s office was found guilty of violating the rights of two men who committed no crime and who were wrongfully arrested and jailed.
The case began in 2009, when two workers, Julian Mora and his son Julio Mora, were stopped by Maricopa County police in an immigration raid. The two men were handcuffed and jailed before the police discovered that Julian is a legal permanent resident and his son a U.S. citizen. The two men sued the police and Sheriff Arpaio for violation of their constitutional rights. A federal ruled in the two men’s favor. The judge made it very clear that no one, not even the toughest sheriff in the United States, had the right to run roughshod over the constitutional rights of innocent people.
Two things have come out of this. First, there is no question that the Maricopa County police had arrested the two men because they are Latino. If they are Latino then they “might be illegals” is obviously what the logic was. And most important is the fact that no one could justify taking away the constitutional rights of those who are wronged. The Maricopa County police will now have to pay over $200,000 in damages to Julian and Julio Mora. There are other lawsuits being brought against the Maricopa County police, and with this court case against the Maricopa County police having been successful the others may bite just as hard. At this rate Sheriff Arpaio may not be sheriff for much longer. I hope that will be the case. A law enforcement person who does not respect the U.S. Constitution should not be in charge of anything.