The civil trial for Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio began on Thursday in Phoenix.
Arpaio, who rose to prominence due to his tough stance against illegal immigration and has been called “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” faces allegations, which he has denied for years, that officers in his district racially profiled and discriminated against Latinos.
Several Latinos filed a class-action lawsuit against Arpaio’s office and are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the international law firm Covington & Burling.
“These proceedings will hopefully change the way Arpaio runs the Sheriff’s Office and prevent future instances of discrimination,” the ACLU said on Thursday.
The Maricopa County legal team has denied the allegations.
“We are licking our chops, [we] can’t wait to get into federal court,” Tom Liddy, who represents the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, told Arizona-based KNAU. “The people of Maricopa County and all the state need to know the fine law enforcement that is being done by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, specifically by numerous Hispanic law enforcement officers.”
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