A class action lawsuit accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of racial profiling will proceed, a federal court ruled Wednesday.
In July 2008, five individuals and Somos America, a Latino coalition, sued Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County, claiming that they or their members were unlawfully stopped and mistreated by law enforcement agents because they are Latino.
Officials from the county asked the U.S. District Court in Arizona to dismiss the lawsuit in October, but the new ruling clears the way for the lawsuit to go forward.
According to a news release, the court recognized that Latino appearance is of "little or no use" in determining which individuals should be stopped by law enforcement seeking undocumented immigrants, and that reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation does not justify questioning of drivers or passengers about immigration status.
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