RALEIGH – Today the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil rights lawsuit against Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson (pictured) alleging that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) “at the direction of Defendant Johnson, intentionally discriminates against Latino persons in Alamance County by targeting Latinos for investigation, detention and arrest, and conducting unreasonable seizures and other unlawful law enforcement actions in violation f the United States Constitution and federal law.”

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina to order Sheriff Johnson to refrain from discriminatory policing and for the ACSO to adopt and implement policies that would constitutionally protect and serve all county residents.

In response, Chris Brook, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation, offered the following statement:

“It’s unfortunate that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office has refused to comply with any of the Justice Department’s requests to address recent findings of widespread discrimination the Sheriff’s Office has committed against Latino residents. We continue to urge Sheriff Johnson to comply with the DOJ’s requests in order to ensure that discriminatory practices carried out by his office cease. Doing so would not only save Alamance County taxpayers potentially thousands of dollars in legal fees, but help to rebuild trust among the community by guaranteeing that all residents of Alamance County receive fair and equal treatment from law enforcement.”

On Sept. 18, 2012, the DOJ released findings showing that ACSO “has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the United States Constitution and federal law."

The lawsuit can be found here.

More information is available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/December/12-crt-1534.html