Jul 24, 2012 11:02 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio testified for more than five hours Tuesday in a lawsuit that alleges that he and his deputies racially profile Hispanics.
Under questioning from lawyers representing a group Latinos who are suing him and his department, Arpaio spoke in a hush, offering that he was suffering from the flu.
He said he was taken out of context when he was quoted as saying that illegal immigrants are "dirty."
He added that if a person were to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on foot over four days in the desert that person "could be dirty."
The case represents the first time the sheriff's office has been accused of systematic racial profiling and will serve as a precursor to a similar yet broader civil rights lawsuit filed against Arpaio by the U.S. Justice Department.