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Feds Accuse N.C. Sheriff of Discriminatory Policing

September 18, 2012  | 

CC_Flickr: NCnick
CC_Flickr: NCnick

The Department of Justice accused the Alamance County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office Tuesday of racially profiling and targeting Latinos.

Federal civil rights investigators claim the office has engaged in a pattern of misconduct including targeting Latino drivers for traffic stops, setting up checkpoints outside Latino neighborhoods, arresting Latinos for minor traffic violations, and masking the conduct with "substandard reporting."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Perez detailed the findings in an 11-page letter to Almance County Attorney Clyde Albright. The Justice Department began investigating the sheriff's office and Sheriff Terry S. Johnson on June 2, 2010.

The letter comes as a precursor to a possible consent decree that would impose policy changes or require an independent monitor. The sheriff's office "must develop and implement new policies, procedures, and training in effective and constitutional policing," according to a DOJ release.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Johnson told reporters he has no intention of signing a consent decree.

"We're not changing the way we're doing anything, because we're not doing anything wrong," Deputy Randy Jones, the office's public information officer, told POLICE Magazine. "We're not going to sign a consent agreement."

In his letter, Perez wrote that federal investigators studied traffic stops on three major county roadways and found that deputies were between four and 10 times more likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers.

Jones said in 2011 deputies made 3,696 traffic stops, including 466 (or 12.6%) of Latino drivers. Latinos make up about 11% of the county, not including illegal immigrants.

At vehicle checkpoints, deputies often insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification, Perez wrote.

Deputies typically arrest drivers who fail to show a license for NOL (no operator's license), Jones said.

The investigation also found that the sheriff's office uses jail booking and detention practices, including practices related to immigration status checks that discriminate against Latinos.

Alamance deputies are authorized under the federal 287g program to act as immigration agents. After the Department of Justice accused Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio of similar practices, Arpaio was stripped of those powers.

The sheriff's office now employs 123 sworn personnel, including 48 patrol deputies on four shifts in a jurisdiction of 150,000 residents. In July, police departments in New Orleans and Seattle announced police reforms stemming from similar federal civil rights probes.

Tags: External Investigations, Alamance County (N.C.) Sheriff, Racial Profiling, Racial Discrimination Claims


Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

deacon @ 9/18/2012 7:26 PM

Well- here we go again- eric holder and his boys trying to intimidate law enforcement for doing their job--what do they really want?
one thing they want is to whip up the spectre of race discrimination straw men before the november election--hh

Tom Ret @ 9/18/2012 7:31 PM

The political corruption in Obama's administration is tame compared to what it will be if he is re elected.

Frank @ 9/18/2012 9:17 PM

Your dead on Tom. I think he will do everything in his power to change the landscape of law enforcement in this country. I see LEO's retiring because their hands are tied and their fed-up. But if this is what the people want then they deserve him and his corrupt administration. Two words - Dual citizenship!

Morning Eagle @ 9/18/2012 11:17 PM

Hopefully Sheriff Johnson will stick to his guns and continue to enforce the law rather than knuckle under to the intimidation tactics of holder's criminal Dept of Injustice. Unless the heads of local enforcement agencies stand up to him it will not be long until the feds are dictating policy and procedure for every one as they are trying to do now. Tom Ret is correct, unless obama and his entire apparatchik are removed from power the whole situation will become much worse than anyone wants to imagine or put up with.

FireCop @ 9/19/2012 4:30 AM

This country is headed down the toilet, quick. I'm very afraid of how many people still believe in the current administration in Washington. If we don't make any changes this November, God help us. Stay safe.

Firecop @ 9/19/2012 4:31 AM

Oooops, I'm sorry. Am I still allowed to say God?

Greg @ 9/19/2012 5:17 AM

There's an old saying, "When you hear hoofbeats, you dont' look for zebras".

Want to find an illegal...look for hispanics.

Tom Ret @ 9/19/2012 8:56 AM

I expect a significant uptick in action by the DOJ, IRS and EPA targeting those critical of Obama or go counter to his agenda in a second term. I hope I'm wrong but I think our freedoms are eroding before our eyes and the main stream media is complicit.

Bob@Az. @ 9/19/2012 1:59 PM

I wonder how many illegals are in Alamance County, seeing as the doj doen't count those? And I'll bet the Deputies do check others, after all it is a check point. Can't wait for November. This administration is the most corrupt I've seen since riceland, but at least there you know who to pay. Sheriff Johnson, I applaud your courage and fortitude! Blues, stay safe.

Federali @ 9/21/2012 2:14 PM

Hmmm, let’s see if I got this right. 12.6% of the traffic stops studied involved Latino drivers. 11% of the county’s population is made up of LEGAL Latinos. Then the real point should be how many ILLEGAL Alien Latinos are there in the county. If it’s, oh say 1.6% that would mean from a 12.6% Latino population, you got only 12.6 % of your traffic stops. Perfect. Now imagine if the illegal population is even higher, like 4-6%. Then I’d say they’re probably racist..….. against non-Latinos!

Also, I wonder at how many check-points AUSA Thomas Perez has been present. He must have first-hand knowledge if he wrote, “At vehicle checkpoints, deputies often insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification.” Or maybe he is just taking La Raza’s (or some other “there should be no border” group’s) word for that one.

Something smells fishy here.

Federali @ 9/21/2012 2:14 PM

Hmmm, let’s see if I got this right. 12.6% of the traffic stops studied involved Latino drivers. 11% of the county’s population is made up of LEGAL Latinos. Then the real point should be how many ILLEGAL Alien Latinos are there in the county. If it’s, oh say 1.6% that would mean from a 12.6% Latino population, you got only 12.6 % of your traffic stops. Perfect. Now imagine if the illegal population is even higher, like 4-6%. Then I’d say they’re probably racist..….. against non-Latinos!

Also, I wonder at how many check-points AUSA Thomas Perez has been present. He must have first-hand knowledge if he wrote, “At vehicle checkpoints, deputies often insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification.” Or maybe he is just taking La Raza’s (or some other “there should be no border” group’s) word for that one.

Something smells fishy here.

Federali @ 9/21/2012 2:14 PM

Hmmm, let’s see if I got this right. 12.6% of the traffic stops studied involved Latino drivers. 11% of the county’s population is made up of LEGAL Latinos. Then the real point should be how many ILLEGAL Alien Latinos are there in the county. If it’s, oh say 1.6% that would mean from a 12.6% Latino population, you got only 12.6 % of your traffic stops. Perfect. Now imagine if the illegal population is even higher, like 4-6%. Then I’d say they’re probably racist..….. against non-Latinos!

Also, I wonder at how many check-points AUSA Thomas Perez has been present. He must have first-hand knowledge if he wrote, “At vehicle checkpoints, deputies often insist on examining identification of Latino drivers, while allowing drivers of other ethnicities to pass through without showing identification.” Or maybe he is just taking La Raza’s (or some other “there should be no border” group’s) word for that one.

Something smells fishy here.

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