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Doj Investigation Nc Alamance Co Sheriff Office Sept 2012

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u. S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

Assistant Attorney General

Washington, D.C. 20530

September 18,2012

Clyde B. Albright
County Attorney
Legal Department, Alamance County
124 West Elm Street
Graham, North Carolina 27253
Chuck Kitchen
Turrentine Law Firm
920-B Paverstone Dr
Raleigh, North Carolina 27615

United States' Investigation of the Alamance County Sheriff's Omce

Dear Mr. Albright and Mr. Kitchen:
The Civil Rights Division ("Division") has concluded its investigation into allegations of
civil rights violations by the Alamance County Sheriff's Omce ("ACSO"). We find that ACSO
has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the United States Constitution and federal
law. Our investigation focused on ACSO's compliance with the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141 ("Section 14141"), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964,42 U.S.C. § 2000d ("Title VI"), and the regulations implementing Title VI, 28 C.F.R.
§§ 42.101-42.112. Section 14141 prohibits law enforcement agencies, such as ACSO, from
engaging in a pattern or practice of violating the Constitution or laws of the United States. Title
VI and its implementing reguIpations prohibit recipients offederal financial assistance, such as
ACSO, from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
In June 2010, we notified Alanlance County and Sheriff TelTY S. Johnson of our
investigation into allegations of discriminatory policing mld unconstitutional searches and
seizures. While law enforcement agencies typically cooperate with our investigations, ACSO
and Almnance County have persistently delayed providing impOliant information and otherwise
obstructed the Division's investigation. ACSO mld the County failed to provide requested
records mld documentary evidence for months and refused to permit attorneys for the United
States to interview CUlTent mld former ACSO perso1111el outside the presence of counsel. The
Division sought private interviews because numerous current and former officers expressed fear


that Sheriff Johnson or other County 01' ACSO officials would retaliate against them if they
cooperated with the investigation. After repeated attempts to resolve this dispute short of
litigation, the Division filed a declaratory judgment action in June 2011 to secure a court order
that such interviews were consistent with the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. l
Despite the lack of cooperation from ACSO and Alamance County, the Division has now
gathered sufficient information about ACSO's practices to make these findings. During the
investigation, aided by leading experts on police practices and statistical analysis, we reviewed
ACSO policies, procedures, training materials, data on traffic stops, arrests, citations, and vehicle
checkpoints, and other documentary evidence. We also interviewed over 125 individuals,
including County residents and current and former ACSO employees.z
We find reasonable cause to believe that ACSO engages in a pattern or practice of
unconstitutional policing. Specifically, we find that ACSO - through the actions of its deputies,
supervisors, and command staff - unlawfully targets, stops, detains, and arrests Latinos. These
actions violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, Section 14141, Title VI, and the
Department of Justice's ("DOJ") regulations implementing Title VI.
Effective resolution of this matter will require the development of a comprehensive
written agreement involving sustainable remedies and federal judicial oversight. We believe that
it is in the mutual interest of the United States, ACSO, and the people of Alamance County to
resolve this matter without litigation. If you wish to discuss a negotiated settlement, we are
prepared to begin discussions immediately. Please advise us by September 30 if ACSO is
interested in entering into negotiations.
Constitutional policing and effective law enforcement go hand-in-hand. The pattern or
practice of discrimination that we find erodes public confidence, creates distrust between police
and segments of the community, and inhibits the reporting of crime and cooperation in criminal
investigations. Biased policing makes the job of police officers harder, not easier. The United
States urges ACSO to work together with us to develop durable and comprehensive remedies
that improve public safety, the safety of officers, and make the job of law enforcement more
effective. If you are lU1willing to do so, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.
Based on our careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that ACSO engages in a
pattern or practice of discriminatory policing against Latinos. The discriminatory conduct we
observed is deeply rooted in a culture that begins with Sheriff Johnson and permeates the entire

I Because wc have been able to gather sufficient evidence to make these findings without additional interviews of
ACSO personnel, we are eontempomneously withdrawing this lawsuit.


Federal1aw prohibits ACSO frol11 intimidaling, threatening, coercing. OJ' engaging in other retaliatory or

discriminatory conduct,


attempting to do the same, against anyone because he or she has cooperated with


investigation 01' has taken any action or participfltcd in any action to secure rights protected by the civil rights laws,

See 18U.S.C. § 1512.


Our factual findings of discriminatory policing include the following:

A recent statistical study commissioned by DO] found that ACSO deputies are
between four to ten times more likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers.


Individual accounts of vehicle checkpoints and conduct during traffic stops
corroborate ACSO's discriminatory enforcement activities, including locating
checkpoints in predominantly Latino neighborhoods and treating stopped drivers
differently based on their ethnicity.


ACSO's booking practices, including practices related to immigration status checks,
discriminate against Latinos. Individual accounts confirm that ACSO improperly
detains Latinos for immigration enforcement purposes after they have posted bond.


ACSO's discriminatory activities are intentional and motivated by the Sheriffs
prejudices against Latinos. The Sheriff and others in ACSO's leadership have
explicitly instructed deputies to target Latinos for checkpoints and arrests, and have
made statements that reveal a discriminatory bias against Latinos.


ACSO's departures fi'om state law and policing standards in reporting and monitoring
its activities mask ACSO's discriminatory conduct and inhibit proper monitoring of
traffic enforcement activity ruld racial profiling.

Our factual findings support the following legal determinations:

ACSO discriminates against Latinos by engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct
that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Section
14141, Title VI, and the Department's Title VI implementing regulations.


ACSO engages in a pattern or practice of unlawful seizures, including unjustified
stops of Latinos in violation orthe FOllrth Amendment and Section 14141.

Alamance County, North Carolina, is located in the central Piedmont region of the state.
The County has approximately 151,000 residents, of whom 71.1 % are white, 18.8% are African
American, and 11.0% are Latino or Hispanic.) Alrunance County's Latino population has grown
rapidly over the last two decades, from a population of only 736 individuals in 1990 to 16,624
individuals by the 2010 Census. ACSO is the largest of eight local law enforcement agencies


U.S. Census Bureau, Alamance County, 20 I 0 Demographic Data, ,



operating within the County, As of2010, there were 123 fuJI-time sworn officers at ACSO,5
fewer than a dozen of whom identifIed as members of a minority ~roup, Another 147 employees
were fuJI-time civilian employees, including correctional officers,

We find that ACSO deputies, supervisors, and command staff, including Sheriff Johnson,
engage in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing against Latinos, Sheriff Johnson both
directs this discrimination and fosters it by promoting a culture of bias within ACSO, This
pattern is manifest in a range of conduct that is described more fuJly below,

A. Discriminatory Practices
Since at least 2007, ACSO has targeted Latinos in Alamance County for heightened
enforcement activity, This activity includes disproportionately targeting Latinos for traffic
enforcement, positioning vehicle checkpoints in Latino neighborhoods, and detaining Latinos in
jail after there is no basis to do so. ACSO policies and practices deny Latinos equal protection of
the law, erode public confidence in law enforcement, and diminish ACSO's capacity to protect
public safety for aJl County residents,

First, ACSO targets Latinosfor traffic stops, A statistical analysis of ACSO traffic
stops demonstrates that ACSO's traffic enforcement practices have a significantly discriminatory
impact on Latino drivers. Indeed, statistical analysis comparing ACSO's traffic stop data to all
violators on several County roadways found that, depending 011 the road analyzed, ACSO
deputies me anywhere betwecn four to ten times more likely to stop Latino drivers than nonLatino drivers, These results show a discriminatory impact at least as great as any previously
seen in the United States, In addition to this statistical evidence, the Division's interviews with
deputies and community members provide additional evidence of discriminatory traffic stops,
Many of these stops involved drivers cited only for driving without a license, an offense not
observable from the road, In one reported incident, an ACSO deputy said he stopped a Latino
man because "most of them drive without licenses,"
Second, ACSO targets Latinos with vehicle checkpoints. Sheriff Johnson selects, and
encourages his officers to select, predominantly Latino neighborhoods to set up vehicle
checkpoints, These checkpoint locations are often positioned to target only the residents of these
predominantly Latino communities, as they are stationed at 01' near the only entrances and exits
of these neighborhoods, Although we learned that deputies often establish checkpoints without
receiving the required prior approval fr0111 a supervisor and without creating any record of the
checkpoint, both documented checkpoints and interviews confirm that ACSO checkpoints cluster
at or near the entrances of predominately Latino neighborhoods,

FBI, Crime inlhe United States 2010, North Carolina: Full-time Law Enforcemcnt Employees, Table 80,
http://www.fbLgov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/20 I0/crime-in-the-u,s,-20 I0/tables/table-80/1 Orbl80nc,x Is (last
visited Feb, 23, 20 12),


Third, and again at the direction of Sheriff Johnson, A CSO checkpoint practices
discriminate against Latinos. Deputies single out Latino drivers for arrest at checkpoints, even
for minor traffic violations. Similarly situated non-Latino drivers are often waved through the
checkpoints without providing identification. We also find that when ACSO deputies stop
drivers for minor traffic offenses, whether at a checkpoint or when conducting routine traffic
stops, the way ACSO treats drivers depends on the driver's ethnicity. Specifically, we find that
when stopped for minor traffic offenses, ACSO deputies arrest rather than merely cite Latino
drivers, but not drivers of other ethnicities. Indeed, Sheriff Johnson has directed his supervisory
officers to tell their subordinates, "If you stop a Mexican, don't write a citation, arrest him."
Non-Latino drivers, when stopped, are issued citations but not arrested for the same types of
minor traffic violations. In one instance, a Latino man and a white woman were stopped by the
same deputy, on the same day, for the same offense, and the deputy arrested the Latino man but
only gave the white woman a written citation.
Fourth, ACSO discriminates against Latinos in its jail booking and detention
procedures. Our investigation revealed that correctional officers verify the immigration status of
all detainees who "appeal'" Latino, regardless of their response to citizenship questions. Officers
decide which detainees to interview based on assumptions about nationality and ethnicity. Those
who appear "American" are not interviewed, even if they cannot produce identification. Further,
law enforcement detains Latinos for immigration status checks even after bond has been posted.
Our interviews confirmed that in at least some cases, Latino individuals who had posted bond
were informed they would not be released because ofa U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement ("ICE") detainer, even though ICE had not yet been contacted and no detainer had
been issued.
Fifth, the Sheriff directs his deputies to target predominantly Latino neighborhoodsfor
increased enforcement based on the Sheriff's oflen-stated belief that Latinos are responsible
for Alamance County's drug trade. For example, at a staff meeting Sheriff JolUlson stated,
"We've had a big drop in the Hispanic population, but we still got a lot dealing dope and we still
got a lot of citizens in this country dealing dope with them." Accordingly, he directed his
Vice/Special Operations Unit to target three or four predominately Latino mobile home parks
and neighborhoods. As he described these heightened enforcement efforts in predominantly
Latino areas, Sheriff Johnson stated, "Hell will come to these places and the devil gonna come
with him. And you folks [the Special Ops Unit] gonna be the devil."
Sixth, A CSO 's discriminatory practices undermine its ability to serpe and protect
Alamance County's Latino residents and the community at large. Effective policing is largely
built on a relationship of trust with all segments of the community. ACSO has done almost
nothing to build such a relationship with the County's Latino residents, and much to destroy it.
OUl' interviews with ACSO officers and community members reveal that the absence of this trust
has substantially compromised policing by limiting the willingness of witnesses and victims to
report crimes and speak to ACSO deputies about criminal activity or complaints of misconduct
by ACSO officers. Our investigation finds that Latinos are afraid to call the police to report
crimes and provide information pertinent to solving crimes.


B. Discriminatory Bias
A culture of discrimination against Latinos pervades ACSO. The Sheriff and the highest
levels of command staff support and foster this culture of bias. Sheriff Johnson has made
numerous statements, both in public and to his deputies and command staff, exhibiting his bias
against Latinos.
The Sheriffs statements frequently assume that Latinos in Alamance County are
undocumented immigrants and are involved in criminal activity. For example, in one widely
publicized statement, in the course of discussing undocumented immigrants, Sheriff Johnson
suggested that anyone of Mexican national origin was inherently suspicious, saying: "Their
values are a lot different - their morals - than what we have here. In Mexico, there's nothing
wrong with having sex with a 12-, 13- year old girl .... They do a lot of drinking down in
Mexico.") The Sheriff also uses derogatory epithets - such as the plu-ase "taco eaters" - when
referring to Latinos in speaking with his staff, and his command staff tolerates the use of
derogatory racial and ethnic epithets by ACSO deputies and correctional officers.
Further, the Sheriff and other ACSO command staff have explicitly directed deputies to
target Latinos during enforcement actions. For instance, the Sheriff has instructed his officers to
arrest all Latinos who commit the traffic infraction of driving without a license. Based on such
directives, ACSO deputies understand that they should target Latinos with their discretionary
enforcement actions and bring them into the Alamance County Jail to be run through
immigration databases,8 rather than simply issuing them citations.

C. Departures from Policing Standards and Procedures
ACSO has departed from state law and policing standards in ways that have adversely
affected Latinos <md contribute to violations of constitutional and federal rights. First, ACSO
does not comply with state law, standard policing practices, and its own policies concerning the
documentation of vehicle checkpoints and traffic stops. Deputies often disregard ACSO's policy
requiring them to file an action plan and obtain supervisory approval prior to setting up a vehicle
checkpoint and to complete a report following each checkpoint. In addition, ACSO has "grossly
underreported" the number of traffic stops its deputies made,9 even though the collection of
trafflc stop data is required by North Carolina law. lo Because it lacks vehicle checkpoint and
traffic stop data, ACSO eaJmot properly monitor its deputies' traffic enforcement activity or

Kristin Collins, Sheriffs Help f-ed, Deport !!legal Aliens, The News and Observer, Apr. 22, 2007, at A I,
" In 2007, ACSO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement ("MOA") with U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement pmsuanl to 8 U.S.C. § I357(g). This MOA permits designated and trained ACSO officers to
investigate individlJals detained at the Alamance County Jail for immigration violations. The MOA prohibits ACSO
from conducting immigration checks on individuals outside ofthejail setting.
9 Robert Boycr, Hispanics Stopped by Sheri!!'s Department "Grossly Underreported. "The Burlington Times-News,
Apr. 7, 2009.
10 N.C. Stat. Ann. § 114-10.01 (effective Jan. 1,2002, amended effective Jan. 1,2010).


reasonably determine whether or not deputies or units engage in racial profiling. Additionally,
the number of Latinos booked into jail for minor offenses is masked because under ACSO policy
minor traffic offenses are logged into a book and detainees are listed only as either "b[lackJ" or
"w[hite]. "
Second, ACSO's Special Operations Unit ll does not adhere to record keeping
requirements or other standard policing practices. The Unit performs traffic enforcement and
other special operations prioritized by the Sheriff. These officers, hand-picked by and loyal to
the Sheriff, perform most of the County's traffic stops and target predominantly Latino
neighborhoods with road blocks, vehicle stops, raids, and increased patrols at the direction of
Sheriff Johnson, but with little oversight. These deputies often do not fill out required
documentation of enforcement actions, limiting oversight of their activities. Additionally,
members of the Unit arc inconsistently disciplined for misconduct.

Section 14141 grants the United States authority to sue a state or local govel'l1ment for
equitable and declaratory relief when a "gove1'l1mental authority ... engage[s] in a pattern or
practice of conduct by law enforcement officers ... that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or
immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States." 42 U.S.c.
§ 14141. Both the Constitution and federal law prohibit intentional discrimination on the basis
of race, color, or national origin. Titl e VI provides that" [n]o person in the United States shall,
on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participating in, be denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving [f]ederal
financial assist,mce." 42 U.S.c. § 2000d. In addition, the Title VI implementing regulations ban
recipients of federal funds from engaging in activities that have a discriminatory effect on the
basis of race, color, or national origin.
While ACSO should establish its own enforcement priorities, ACSO's actions must
comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States. We find that, by intentionally
targeting Latinos, ignoring basic law enforcement protocols, and failing to implement
meaningful safeguards against discriminatory police practices, ACSO engages in intentional
discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and federal law.
We further find that ACSO's enforcement activities have a discriminatory effect on Latinos in
Alamance County in violation o1'DO.l's regulations implementing Title VI.
A. Discriminatory Policing
Our investigation provides reasonable cause to believe tbat ACSO's discriminatory traffic
enforcement and vehicle checkpoint activities violate the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment, Title Vl, and Title VI's implementing regulations.
The Equal Protection Clause prohibits certain law enforcement practices that discriminate
based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Whren v. United States,S 17 U.S. 806, 813 (1996).
!\ law enforcement agency likc ACSO violates the Equal Protection Clause when its decision

This unit has gone by different names, including \\Yice" and \\Strcet Crimes," throughout its existence,


maker adopts a facially neutral policy or practice with a discriminatory intent and that policy or
practice has a discriminatory effect. United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456, 465 (1996);
Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229, 239-40 (1976); Monroe v. City a/Charlottesville, 579 F.3d
380,388 (4th Cir. 2009). Likewise, law enforcement officers violate the Equal Protection Clause
when they administer 01' enforce a facially neutral policy in a manner that disproportionately
affects a protected group and they act with discriminatory intent. Monroe, 579 F.3d at 388.
A law enforcement activity may run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause even where
discriminatory intent is not the decision maker's sole motive. Smith v. Town a/Clarkton, 682
F.2dl055, 1066 (4th Cir. 1982); Orgain v. City a/Salisbury, 305 F. App'x 90, 98 (4th Cir. 2008)
("Notably, the Equal Protection Clause does not require Plaintiffs to prove that the challenged
action rested solely on racially discriminatory purposes."). Rathel', an equal protection violation
occurs when evidence shows that "racial animus was one of several factors that, taken together,"
motivated the discriminatory acts. Orgain, 305 F. App'x at 98; see also Personnel Adm 'r of
Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 279 (1979). To assess whether intentional discrimination
animates a law enforcement activity, courts examine the totality of the circumstances with
particular attention to factors the Supreme Court has identified as most probative of
discriminatory intent. See Viii. ofArlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252,
265 (1977). Those factors include: evidence of discriminatory effect; evidence of departures
from normal procedures; the specific sequence of events that led to the discriminatory practices
at issue; and contemporaneous statements from a decision maker that reveal a discriminatory
intent. Jd. at 266-68; Sylvia Dev. Corp. v. Calverl Cnty., 48 F.3d810, 819 (4th Cir. 1995).
Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Sheriff Johnson intentionally
implemented law enforcement practices that discriminate against Latinos. While Sheriff Johnson
often justifies ACSO's activities by citing his desire to combat illegal immigration, we conclude
that anti-Latino bias motivates his selection and implementation of ACSO's enforcement
priorities. Sheriff Johnson has made racially insensitive comments, tolerated racially derogatory
remarks ii'om ACSO command staff, and ordered various discriminatory enforcement activities.
Indeed, Sheriff Johnson has ordered numerous vehicle checkpoints and other law enforcement
activities in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, instructed ACSO officers to stop Latino
drivers on roadways, and insisted that officers arrest and detain Latino drivers for minor
In addition to uncovering evidence of discriminatory intent, our investigation
demonstrates that several ACSO practices result in a discriminatory impact on Latinos.
Statistical evidence shows that ACSO deputies stop Latino drivers at higher rates than similarly
situated non-Latinos on Alamance County roadways. This evidence not only demonstrates a
disparate impact on Latino drivers, but also bears directly on the discriminatory motives of those
implementing ACSO's traffic enforcement activities. It is difficult to conceive of any valid, nondiscriminatory explanation for enforccment practices that are roughly foUl' to ten times more
likely to stop Latino drivers than non-Latino drivers. This statistical cvidence is consistent with
what witnesses have told us about ACSO deputies - in particular ACSO Special Operations frequently seizing and detaining Latino drivers without cause.


Moreover, analysis of the traffic checkpoints ACSO conducted and documented from
2007-2011 demonstrates that ACSO disproportionately locates checkpoints in or near
predominately Latino communities. Interviews with County residents confirm that these
discriminatory checkpoints continue today. Not only does ACSO frequently locate checkpoints
in Latino areas, the results of our investigation indicate that ACSO officers execute checkpoints
in a discriminatory manner. For these and other reasons, the evidence establishes that ACSO is
engaged in a pattern or practice of equal protection violations.
Our investigation also provides reasonable cause to believe that ACSO's discriminatory
jail practices violate the Equal Protection Clause. ACSO's jail procedures unlawfully target
Latinos for immigration status checks during booking and detention.
Discriminatory law enforcement activities are also prohibited by Title VI. Title VI
establishes that "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national
origin, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program or activity receiving [f]ederal financial assistance." 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000d. In addition, the regulations implementing Title VI proscribe "criteria or methods of
administration" that exert a discriminatory effect on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
28 C.F.R. § 42.104(b)(2). ASCO and Alamance County receive federal funding and have
violated Title VI and its implementing regulations for the reasons detailed above.
B. Unreasonable Seizures

ACSO deprives Latino residents of their Fourth Amendment right to be free of
"unreasonable searches and seizures." U.S. Const. Amend. IV. Even the temporary detention of
an individual by police during a traffic stop for a limited purpose constitutes a seizure for Fourth
Amendment purposes. Whren, 517 U.S. at 809-10; United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328, 334
(4th Cir. 2008). A traffic stop must thus be "reasonable" under the circumstances. Whren, 517
U.S. at 810. Roving checkpoints for license and registration checks are not permissible.
Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 657, 661 (1979). Stopping a vehicle at a police checkpoint
likewise constitutes a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Michigan Dep 'I of
State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444,450 (1990). While the Fourth Amendment allows vehicle
checkpoints in celiain narrow circumstances, see Silz, 496 U.S. at 454 (upholding sobriety
checkpoint), police may not utilize checkpoints to pursue general law enforcement goals, such as
immigration sweeps or drug interdiction. Nor can officers inoculate an impermissible vehicle
checkpoint by articulating a pretextualjustification. See, e.g., Uniled Slales v. Huguenin, 154
F.3cl 547,555 (6th Cir. 1998) (prelextual checkpoints must be judged by true programmatic
purpose); Uniled Slates v. Morales-Zamora, 974 F.2d 149, 153 (10th Cir. 1992) (reversing denial
of suppression motion and holding that a driver's license checkpoint was in fact a pretext for
drug searches).
Our investigation furnishes reasonable cause to believe that ACSO's practice oflargeting
Latino drivers via traffic enforcement and vehicle checkpoints violates the Fourth Amendment.
These racially motivated stops are unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment. As described
above, ACSO locates checkpoints in heavily Latino areas to facilitate impermissible
programmatic objectives, including de facto immigration sweeps and drug interdiction. ACSO
ofllcers likewise engage in a practice of stopping Latino drivers on Alamance County roadways


regardless of whether reasonable suspicion exists for the stops - a practice that contravenes the
"reasonableness" the Fourth Amendment prescribes. Further, ACSO unjustifiably detains
Latinos after they have posted bail.

The factualiindings detailed above provide reasonable cause to believe that ACSO
violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, Section
14141, Title VI, and Title VI's implementing regulations. The Civil Rights Division accordingly
notifies you that, absent ACSO reaching an agreement with the Division to correct these
violations, the United States will initiate litigation to compel compliance with the Constitution
and federal law.
The constitutional violations and institutional deiiciencies outlined above are the product
of an ingrained culture that encourages and tolerates the discriminatory treatment of Latinos and
an agency that has demonstrated its flagrant disregard for constitutional protections. Reform will
require sustained commitment to long-term structural, cultural, and institutional change,
including the following:

Elimination of Overt Discrimination: ACSO must develop and implement policies
prohibiting discriminatory enforcement activities and the use of derogatory language
aimed at racial and ethnic groups by ACSO officers while on duty.


Training for ACSO Deputies, Supervisors, and Command Staff: ACSO must develop
and implement effective and meaningful training for its officers and relevant non-sworn
staff in constitutional policing, including how to perform stops, searches, seizures, and
arrests consistent with the requirements of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Training must also include instruction regarding language access obligations and


Special Operations Unit: ACSO must develop and implement detailed policies,
procedures, training, and oversight regarding the operations and activities of the Special
Operations Unit.


Data Collection, Analysis, and Risk Management: ACSO must develop, implement, and
enforce a comprehensive and accurate data collection system documenting all ACSO
. enforcement activity. Such a program requires consistently completed, detailed
auditable reports for vehicle checkpoints; traffic and pedestrian stops; searches and
seizures; raids; and patrol activities. This program also requires regular analysis and
audits of the data to enable ACSO to supervise, manage, and intervene when appropriate.


Complaint System and Tntemal A [Tail'S: ACSO must develop and implement a
comprehensive complaint, investigation, and disciplinary system (0 enable it to hold
of/kers accountable when they violate policy or the law. The complaint systemmus( be
well-publicized and accessible to all community members. It must permit members of


the public, including ACSO officers, to make complaints against ACSO staff and
deputies without fear of retaliation. The internal investigative process must include clear
avenues for adjudication, discipline, and criminal prosecution, if necessary.

Community Outreach: ACSO must meet the law enforcement needs of all its residents,
regardless of their race or ethnicity. To that end, ACSO must engage with and reach out
to ACSO's Latino residents to ensure that it is fairly and effectively providing them with
law enforcement services.

We strongly believe that effective policing and constitutional policing are inseparable.
We prefer to work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, as we have in recent yearsincreasingly at their request - to address serious concerns that threaten to undermine public
confidence and hinder effective policing. We prefer negotiation rather than litigation. Our goal
throughout every investigation is to work cooperatively to develop and implement sustainable
reform measmes that will reduce crime, ensure respect for the Constitution, and increase public
confidence in law enforcement.
We stand ready to roll up our sleeves and work with you to address the concerns outlined
in this letter. We remain prepared to take prompt, appropriate legal action if you choose to
forego collaboration. We look forward to hearing from you by September 30th as to whether
you wish to seek a negotiated resolution of this matter. Please note that this letter is a public
document ane! will be posted on the Civil Rights Division's website. If you have any questions,
please contact Jonathan Smith, Chief of the Special Litigation Section, at (202) 514-6255.


Thomas E. Perez
Assistant Attorney General