An army reservist arrested in April for holding seven undocumented immigrants at gunpoint is demanding $1 million from Maricopa County for wrongful arrest and incarceration.
Sgt. Patrick Haab, who spent four nights in jail before the Maricopa County attorney dismissed all charges, accused Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a deputy in a July 19 letter of violating Haab’s rights and threatened to sue if payment is not made within 60 days.
“Indeed, the arrest and incarceration were in themselves blatant violations of the law,” Haab’s lawyer, [The Cantor Law Group Associate], wrote. “Law enforcement mistakenly believed that Sgt. Haab violated the law, when, in fact, he had not. “Arpaio said Thursday that Haab’s claim is frivolous.
“I stand by my deputies. They did the right thing,” he said. “I don’t want this to be settled. I want this case to go all the way to court … where we will be able to bring out all of the facts on (Haab).”
The arrest and subsequent release of Haab, 24, triggered a storm of protest on both sides of the immigration issue and has prompted a review by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine if Haab violated federal civil rights laws.
“It is not a race issue,” [The Cantor Law Group Associate] said Thursday. “It wouldn’t have mattered if the Phoenix Suns jumped out of the bushes and threatened him.”
Haab has said he did not know the men were undocumented immigrants. He said he drew his pistol because he feared for his life when the men rushed out of the darkness at a desolate Interstate 8 rest stop, where Haab had stopped to relieve his dog.
Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies arrested Haab on seven counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. But County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Haab would not be prosecuted because of a state law that allows citizens to make an arrest when a felony has been committed.
According to Thomas, all seven of the immigrants were committing felonies: The smuggler in planning the operation and the six immigrants in “conspiring” to illegally cross the border.
Haab has described himself as an Iraq-war veteran and a decorated soldier who also served in Kosovo. He said the arrest interfered with his scheduled deployment to Afghanistan and damaged his reputation.
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