After a two-year investigation found that Sheriff Terry S. Johnson and deputies of Almance County, North Carolina, have been exhibiting discriminatory practices against Latinos, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement suspended the county’s 287(g) law. Under 287(g) allow, law enforcement officials are allowed to question the immigration status of individuals they detain.
“The Department of Homeland Security is troubled by the Department of Justice’s findings of discriminatory policing practices within the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office,” said Barbara Gonzalez, ICE spokeswoman. “Accordingly, and effective immediately, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is terminating ACSO’s 287(g) jail model agreement and is restricting their access to the Secure Communities program.”
In the investigation, the Department of Justice found a high number of unnecessary arrests made in the Hispanic community, showing that deputies were looking for ways to increase the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants. Deputies were setting up checkpoints in Hispanic communities and detaining Latino residents for offenses that would normally receive a ticket. Many discriminatory policing activities were noted, including:
– Deputies targeting Latino drivers for traffic stops and pulling over 4-10 times more Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers
– Deputies routinely placing checkpoints just outside of Latino neighborhoods and only examining the identification and green cards of Latino drivers
– Using jail booking and detention practices and immigration status checks
– Alamance County sheriffs instructing deputies to perform this behavior
– The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office engaging in substandard reporting and monitoring practices to hide the discriminatory conduct
Despite the allegations and the well-documented findings, Sheriff Johnson denies partaking in any racial profiling.
“I would like to reiterate, we have never discriminated against Spanish-speaking persons in any way, shape, form or fashion here at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office as long as I have ever been sheriff,” Johnson told CBS affiliate WFMY News.
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