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ACLU files another complaint vs. TPD over SB 1070 enforcement

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ACLU files another complaint vs. TPD over SB 1070 enforcement

  • Paul Ingram/

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a second claim against the Tucson Police Department over enforcement of SB 1070. 

At issue is whether Tucson police officers had reasonable suspicion to call for an immigration check on Jesus Reyes Sepulveda during a traffic stop in January 2014, holding him for an hour until two plainclothes Border Patrol agents could pick him up. 

Reyes Sepulveda was held by Border Patrol overnight and then spent three days at the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility in Eloy before he was released on a bond, according to the complaint. A hearing in the illegal immigration case has not yet been heard.

Reyes Sepulveda was never told why the original stop was made, according to the ACLU, but police officers did cite him for driving with a suspended license due to an unpaid traffic ticket, and invalid proof of insurance, a charge which was later dropped. 

The is the second formal complaint the ACLU has submitted to TPD over SB 1070's "show me your papers" provision, a section which survived a 2012 Supreme Court decision.

While the justices refused to strike down the provision, the decision said that holding people "solely to verify their immigration status would raise constitutional concerns." And, unless the person "continues to to be suspected of some crime for which he may be detained by state officers, it would not be reasonable to prolong the stop for the immigration inquiry." 

"TPD has consistently dismissed the recommendations we and other members of the community have made repeatedly over the nearly two years Section 2 B has been in effect," said James Lyall, an ACLU staff attorney. 

According the claim, filed Tuesday, "one of the CBP agents told Mr. Reyes the TPD officers had no right to conduct such a lengthy investigation simply to write him a citation." The claim also said that an agent said Reyes did not fit within enforcement priorities. 

The ACLU has also challenged the enforcement of SB 1070 by the South Tucson Police Department. 

In May, the department reached a settlement, agreeing to track how officers conducted stops and limiting prolonged stops for the purpose of checking a person's immigration status. 

"Given TPD's early and public recognition that SB 1070 would damage the relationship between local police and immigrant communities, the department's consistent failure to engage with the community it serves or to respond to continuing complaints of racial profiling and unlawful detention is inexcusable," said Lyall. 

The Tucson Police Department has yet to respond to a request for comment. 

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