MCSO Sergeant Says Main Goal Is to Catch Illegal Immigrants, Contradicting Deputy Chief Brian Sands' Testimony

See also: Deputy Chief Brian Sands' Testimony Contradicted by His Statements in 2010
See also: Joe Arpaio's Deputy: Sheriff Is Misinformed About Illegal Immigration Patrols
See also: Joe Arpaio Struggles in Racial-Profiling Trial
See also: Joe Arpaio's (ahem) Legal Scholar Brett Palmer and Brian Sands Under Oath

A sergeant for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office reaffirmed in federal court this morning that the goal of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's infamous "crime-suppression" patrols is to stop and detain illegal immigrants even if the suspects aren't charged with state crimes.

MCSO Sergeant Manuel Madrid -- a supervisor for the agency's Human Smuggling Unit -- testified today in the class-action racial-profiling lawsuit, which claims illegal immigration enforcement patrols by Joe's office discriminate against Hispanic residents, even those who are in the country legally.

While some MCSO staff who have testified in the trial have been less blunt about the immigration raids, Madrid's testimony was brutally honest at times. At one point, the sergeant said that a suspect being Hispanic was a factor and "a totality at the end" for bringing up suspicion of the person being an undocumented immigrant.

Not speaking English or speaking broken English were other factors, as well as presenting a foreign ID during a traffic stop, Madrid testified.

In comparison to last week's testimony from Deputy Chief Brian Sands -- who said the main goal wasn't to arrest illegal immigrants, but was only an "end result" to MCSO's sweeps -- seemed like a direct contradiction to Madrid's comments today.

"If people are arrested and, subsequently, they're in the country illegally, that's the end result of stopping a certain amount of people," Sands said last week in the trial.

Madrid went on to say that even some of the neighborhoods where MCSO selected to do the crime sweeps were for reported crimes related to human smuggling. But the main pretext to initiate contact with suspects were simple traffic violations, such as cracked windshields or driving over the speed limit -- infractions unrelated to immigration laws.

While questioning the sergeant, Cecilia Wang, the plaintiffs' lawyer, asked Madrid if he would agree that deputies aggressively enforcing traffic violations in Latino neighborhoods under the assumption that illegal immigrants live there would qualify as racial profiling.

"I would agree with that," Madrid stated.

Even though he denies MCSO racially profiles, Madrid inadvertently admitted that's exactly what Arpaio's office does, because deputies patrol Latino-saturated neighborhoods to catch illegal immigrants, as the sergeant said.

The trial is scheduled to be over on Thursday, with the possibility of being extended to next month, but that will depend on whether U.S. District Judge Murray Snow wants the closing arguments heard or written.

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Uriel J. Garcia
Contact: Uriel J. Garcia