PHOENIX (AP) — Offensive letters, tearful stories and reams of statistics have been shared as plaintiffs' lawyers rest their case Tuesday in a racial profiling lawsuit against an Arizona sheriff and his department.
But legal experts say the group of Latinos who brought the civil case against Maricopa County's Joe Arpaio, known by his supporters as "America's Toughest Sheriff," have a high bar to clear to convince a judge that there was widespread discrimination in the agency.
Arpaio has repeatedly denied the racial profiling allegations. And experts say it's not enough for plaintiffs' lawyers to show that a person or a group of people were discriminated against. Systematic discrimination claims such as these require more evidence.
A group of Latinos say deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks, an allegation Arpaio's lawyers dispute.