ADL Commends U.S. Justice Department Report Finding Systemic Civil Rights Violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Phoenix, AZ, December 16, 2011....The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the U.S. Department of Justice for its report detailing repeated and flagrant civil rights violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, saying the report validates concerns of systemic deficiencies within the department that led to ethnic profiling of Latinos and other civil rights violations.

Miriam Weisman, ADL Arizona Regional Board Chair, and Bill Straus, ADL Arizona Regional Director, issued the following statement:

We welcome the inquiry and intervention of the U.S. Justice Department in response to concerns of repeated and flagrant civil rights violations by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. The Justice Department's report is a significant official recognition of our longstanding concerns regarding unconstitutional practices by the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Arpaio's leadership in Maricopa County has clearly resulted in a systematic failure in the exercise of responsible and accountable law enforcement, and a breakdown in the community's ability to trust law enforcement. We believe the sheriff no longer has the credibility to attain the respect and support that such a position requires and demands.

We have received numerous complaints of ethnic profiling targeting Latinos. Sheriff Arpaio has always denied these activities, so we asked the Justice Department to conduct a thorough external investigation. Their report validates many of our concerns, and those of the community.

The Justice Department report found there was reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and/or violations of federal law occurred in several areas related to the profiling of Latinos in Maricopa County. It also highlighted a number of long-standing and entrenched systemic deficiencies that caused or contributed to patterns of unlawful conduct, including inadequate training and inadequate supervision of law enforcement officers.

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