County attorney fails to charge 5 arrested in workplace raid - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

County attorney fails to charge 5 people arrested in workplace raid

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PHOENIX -

The county attorney will not be filing charges against some of the workers arrested at two popular valley restaurants.

As the Maricopa County sheriff's office defends its operation, opponents of the sheriff are crying foul.

The sheriff's office arrested nine people last week at two Uncle Sam's locations. The county attorney's office examined all the evidence, and some of them won't be charged.

Of the 9 people arrested at Uncle Sam's last week, the county attorney has decided not to file charges against five of them. The other four are looking at forgery and ID theft charges.

"These people are workers they are not criminals. They have the right to work and they should not in any way, shape or form be persecuted for feeding their families," said Salvador Reza.

Immigration activists feel Arpaio is skirting a recent ruling against his office in a racial profiling case. The sheriff, they say, should be out of immigration enforcement.

"He needs to stop these raids. He needs to realize they are the epitome of racial profiling. And we will not take that," said county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

"We are tired of Sheriff Arpaio saying one thing in the courts and then acting different in the public."

Even though five people won't be charged right now, the sheriff's office stands by its operation.

"We are very aware that we are under the microscope because of this stuff. We are very careful and very thorough in all investigation, this one particularly," said Lisa Allen, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Spokeswoman Lisa Allen says investigators worked with the county attorney's office and the investigation isn't over.

"Every I was dotted every T was crossed. This was an employer ID theft forgery case. And that is what they were arrested on," said Allen.

"We didn't arrest them for being here illegally, we arrested them because the stole someone else's identification."

Even though the charges against some of the nine won't be filed, they will still have to deal with ICE.

Statement by County Attorney's Office

"We did not ‘scratch' any charges.  While the results of the initial investigation resulted in a successful number of arrests, our initial review of the evidence available at this time does not support filing charges against all of those arrested.  If additional evidence becomes available, we will review any case not charged.  This type of procedural result is not an infrequent occurrence following a charging review by prosecutors and should not be taken as any change in how the MCAO prosecutes cases of employment-related fraud.   As I have repeatedly stated, we treat these cases just as we do any others – based on evidence."

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