Feds: NC Sheriff and Deputies Targeted Latinos
A two-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that a North Carolina sheriff and his deputies routinely discriminated against Latinos by making unwarranted arrests with the intent of maximizing deportations.
In an 11-page report issued Tuesday, the federal agency said Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson and his deputies violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and legal residents by illegally targeting, stopping, detaining and arresting Latinos without probable cause.
The agency also said that Johnson obstructed the federal investigation launched in 2010 by withholding requested documents and falsifying records. Federal investigators say members of the department also feared retaliation if they cooperated.
The report recommends a list of steps to end discrimination by the department, including remedial training, new internal procedures for recognizing and investigating civil rights violations and community outreach. If the county fails to reach a negotiated settlement, the Justice Department could take the county to federal court.
Justice Department officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether their probe could result in criminal charges.
A Republican first elected in 2002, Johnson suggested the probe was a political.