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Plaintiffs’ lawyers also presented statistics to show Latinos are more likely to be stopped on days of immigration patrols and showed emails containing offensive jokes about people of Mexican heritage that were circulated among sheriff’s department employees, including a supervisor in Arpaio’s immigrant smuggling squad.
Defense lawyers disputed the statistical findings and said officers who circulated offensive jokes were disciplined. They also denied the complaint letters prompted patrols with a discriminatory motive.
The ruling used Arpaio’s own words in interviews, news conferences and press releases against him as he trumpeted his efforts in cracking down on immigrants. When it came to making traffic stops, Arpaio said in 2007 that deputies are not bound by state laws in finding a reason to stop immigrants.
"Ours is an operation, whether it’s the state law or the federal, to go after illegals, not the crime first, that they happen to be illegals," the ruling quoted Arpaio as saying. "My program, my philosophy is a pure program. You go after illegals. I’m not afraid to say that. And you go after them and you lock them up."
The ruling went on to say that some immigrant traffic stops were made "purely on the observation of the undercover officers that the vehicles had picked up Hispanic day laborers from sites where Latino day laborers were known to gather."
The judge also said the sheriff office declared on many occasions that racial profiling is strictly prohibited and not tolerated, but at the same time witnesses said it was appropriate to consider race as a factor in rounding up immigrants.
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