Joe Arpaio Lawyers: Discriminating Against Spanish-Speakers Doesn’t Violate Civil Rights
Read the whole article here.
The lawyers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio responded late last week to the Justice Department lawsuit alleging racial-discrimination practices by the Sheriff’s Office, not surprisingly, asking for it to be tossed.
One would expect that the response would be interesting to allegations of the worst racial-profiling tactics in the country’s history, and it sure is.
Perhaps most interesting is that Arpaio’s lawyers contend discrimination against people who speak a certain language isn’t a civil-rights violation.
As you may recall, the lawsuit itself focuses on discriminatory policing against Latinos, and alleges that the practices at the jails discriminate against “Latino prisoners with limited English language skills.”
The lawsuit adds, though, that the discrimination was against the “limited English proficient” Latinos, but on the basis of “race, color, or national origin” — not because they didn’t speak English too well.
The Justice Department alleges 21 instances in which the MCSO’s handling of the language barrier violates laws, not just from the Civil Rights Act.
For example, from the lawsuit:
In some instances, female Latino [limited English proficient] prisoners have been forced to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation because of MCSO’s failure to ensure that detention officers provide language assistance in such circumstances.
In some instances, when a Latino LEP prisoner has been unable to understand commands given in English, MCSO detention officers have put an entire area of the jail in lockdown—effectively preventing all the prisoners in that area from accessing a number of privileges because of the Latino LEP prisoner’s inability to understand English…
The whole Motion to Dismiss is posted at the link.