PHOENIX (AP) - Attorneys for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit that claims his office carried out a pattern of discrimination against Latinos in its immigration patrols.
Arpaio's office had until Friday to respond to the U.S. Justice Department's suit that accused the sheriff's office of racially profiling Latinos and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish. Arpaio also is accused of launching some immigration patrols based on citizen letters that complained about people with dark skin congregating in a given area or speaking Spanish but never reported an actual crime.
The sheriff has denied allegations of the systematic discriminatory policing and called the lawsuit a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration intended to gain favor with Latino voters.
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