By Karen Lucas Siciliano
After a two-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) found that the Alamance
County, NC Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) “engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing against Latinos.” In its findings letter, DOJ concluded that “[t]he discriminatory conduct we observed is deeply rooted in a culture that begins with Sheriff [Terry S.] Johnson and permeates the entire agency.” On the same day that DOJ released its findings, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would terminate the 287(g) federal/state enforcement partnerships that currently operate in Alamance County jails and would limit ACSO officers’ access to the enforcement partnership known as Secure Communities (ICE’s announcement is quoted in this news article). Last year, DHS took similar steps in Maricopa County, AZ, in response to DOJ’s finding of discriminatory police practices by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which is headed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio recently stood trial on allegations of police misconduct, but the court has not issued a decision in that case yet.