Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against Alamance Sheriff Terry Johnson | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against Alamance Sheriff Terry Johnson

Posted by on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 12:24 PM

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson
  • Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson

A federal judge has dismissed the U.S. Department of Justice's case against embattled but popular Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson.

Claiming the federal agency failed to offer substantive proof that Johnson's office targeted Latinos during traffic stops and checkpoints in order to spur their deportation, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder, an appointee of President George W. Bush, issued his opinion late last week.

The Department of Justice has yet to indicate whether it will appeal the ruling, which would close a case that began in 2013 when federal investigators accused Johnson of engaging "in a pattern of discriminatory law enforcement activities directed against Latinos in Alamance County," a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

"Go out there and get me some of those taco eaters," Johnson was accused of exclaiming at a vehicle checkpoint in summer 2011.

During the case, the DOJ claimed its own data analysis found that Latino drivers were as much as 10 times more likely to be stopped by Alamance deputies along major county highways.

An Indy analysis in 2012 reported similar findings, discovering that Latino drivers were twice as likely as non-Latino drivers to be arrested during traffic stops in Alamance County. Immigration attorneys used the allegations to prompt federal officials to drop numerous deportation cases stemming from arrests by Johnson's deputies.

Numerous advocates claimed Johnson was enlisting his deputies to stop Latino motorists, directing them to arrest those drivers for offenses in which non-Latino drivers would not be arrested. Arrests are key because individuals cannot be processed through the immigration database without an arrest.

It's a long-running claim in Alamance County, where Johnson lobbied to start the controversial 287(g) program, a partnership with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement that allows local law enforcement to act as immigration officers. Nevertheless, Johnson remains popular in the largely conservative county, where he ran for a fourth term unopposed last year.

The ACLU of N.C. issued an immediate condemnation of the ruling, calling it a "miscarriage of justice" and urging the DOJ to appeal the ruling.

"Today's decision flies in the face of a mountain of evidence that Sheriff Johnson and the Alamance County Sheriff's Office engaged in discriminatory policing," said ACLU staff attorney Carolyna Caicedo Manrique in a statement.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

It's spelled "Zainab Baloch".

by jason0x21 on Baldwin Bows Out of Raleigh At-large Race; All Council Candidates Have Opposition (News)

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

Most Recent Comments

It's spelled "Zainab Baloch".

by jason0x21 on Baldwin Bows Out of Raleigh At-large Race; All Council Candidates Have Opposition (News)

I live in Durham NC. We have a large growth in the last 6 years. The city have really gotten …

by Margaret Houston on Section 8 Voucher Holders Are Having a Hard Time Finding Housing in Durham (News)

@ Hunter23 "A combination of investors and loans" is not specific, and nowhere in the article is the phrase "private …

by RJO_III on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

The article clearly states the building would be privately funded with the state/local gov pitching in for infrastructure enhancement. The …

by Hunter23 on North Carolina FC and John Kane Want to Put a Big Ol' Soccer Stadium in Downtown Raleigh (News)

I truly admire the passion and support the message. But it seems standing on an overpass during rush hour traffic …

by Diane Alenezi on High Above I-40, Protesters Call for "Health Care 4 All" (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation