Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio vs. ACLU: New Lawsuit Tomorrow Over Worksite Raid

The Arizona ACLU isn't giving out any details, but they've just issued a press advisory that at noon tomorrow they will announce a lawsuit, "on behalf of two Avondale residents who were illegally arrested and detained during a worksite raid conducted by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office."

Though the ACLU's mum for the moment, my hunch is that the lawsuit will involve the February raid on Handyman Maintenance Inc., a county vendor located in Phoenix. During that bust, some 60 suspected illegal aliens ended up being  arrested.

On the day of the raid, Julio Mora, 19, was taking his dad to work at HMI, when their vehicle was pulled over by the MCSO just outside the company. Both Mora, and his 66-year-old father were zip-tied and detained for three hours as they waited for the MCSO to check their identification. Each was humiliated and refused repeated requests to use the bathroom. Mora's dad, a diabetic, nearly wet himself, until he was allowed to go outside, next to a truck. Mora was allowed to go eventually, but the deputies still would not undo his restraints.

In April, Mora spoke at the House Judiciary Committee hearing looking into the 287(g) program and Sheriff Arpaio, the same hearing attended by then Mesa police chief George Gascon. And when the Rev. Al Sharpton was in town in June, Mora was on his radio show, explaining what happened to him. The Avondale-resident mentioned at that time that he and his father were preparing to pursue a lawsuit based on the February incident.

I could be wrong. There may be two other folks from Avondale who were falsely arrested during an MCSO raid. In any case, we should find out tomorrow at the ACLU's press conference. I hope the ACLU names DHS head Janet Napolitano in the lawsuit. Mora and his father's rights were violated under the color of federal law, with MCSO deputies exercising 287(g) authority. If the lawsuit is on the pair's behalf, both DHS and Immigration and Customs and Enforcement need to be held accountable for the father and son's malicious treatment.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons