Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to appeal racial profiling ruling


(FILES) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks with a reporter outside city jail in this May 3, 2010, file photo.



Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Saturday that he plans to appeal a federal judge's ruling that his agency racially profiled and violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers by singling them out in an immigration crackdown.

The 80-year-old sheriff's lead attorney, Tim Casey, said the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office never had a policy of racial profiling and that any incorrect actions by deputies was from faulty training by federal authorities.

"The law clearly says you cannot do that, and this judge has clearly made it known that that is not the law,and ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) taught that, and that is not correct," Casey told ABC News.

Casey said he planned to launch an appeal in the next 30 days.

On Friday, a federal judge found that under the watch of the self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff", deputies would systematically single out Latinos in raids and traffic stops as part of his signature immigration crackdown.

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Arpaio is known for creative policing policies such as making inmates wear pink underwear and setting up a prison "tent city" in the Arizona desert.

US District Court Judge G. Murray Snow wrote that "the evidence introduced at trial establishes that, in the past, the MCSO has aggressively protected its right to engage in immigration and immigration-related enforcement operations even when it had no accurate legal basis for doing so."

The lawsuit was brought by a group of Latinos who asked for a judge to declare that the sheriff's office engaged in racial profiling in order to push for policy changes.

"We were looking for a declaration from the court that these are unconstitutional practices as an important first step in stopping those practices," Don Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told ABC.