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Victims of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling Tell Their Stories

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Yesterday marked Day 3 of the Sheriff Joe Arpaio trial that is currently underway in Phoenix, Arizona.  It was the most emotional day of testimony yet.

Below are two of the most heart-wrenching stories from immigrants who are accusing Sheriff Joe and his deputies of racial profiling:

  • Daniel Magos, a 67 year-old Mexican native who became a citizen 45 years ago was pulled over in 2009 because he was pulling a trailer. The officer who pulled him over claimed that Magos’ license plate wasn’t available, which, according to Magos, it was. The deputy proceeded to yell at him and his wife, and asked Magos if he had any weapons in his car.  Magos, who possessed a legal handgun, said yes, and was searched under his armpits and groin area. Delivering testimony, Magos held back tears as he told of how the incident made him feel “humiliated, worthless, defenseless.” The case left Magos feeling disillusioned and distrustful of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and he filed a complaint with the ACLU right after.
  • Manuel Nieto, a US citizen born in Mexico, and his sister, Velia Meraz, pulled into a gas station where two men had been detained.  The deputy asked the siblings to leave and threatened to arrest them for disorderly conduct if they didn’t. When Nieto’s sister asked the deputy for his name and badge number, the deputy became agitated. Shortly before leaving, Meraz let the detained people know in Spanish that they did not have to sign any documents presented to them. When the siblings left, they were followed by other officers, who proceeded to pull Nieto out of the car and slapped a pair of handcuffs on him.

The day before, the Sheriff testified that he was against “anyone racial profiling” and that his office does not arrest people based on the color of skin — though as we noted in our blog post from yesterday, he has admitted in the past that he arrests “very few” non-HispanicsWe have more on his testimony here.