TUCSON (CN) - A man spent three days in an immigration detention center after Tucson police illegally handed him over to the Border Patrol during a routine traffic stop, according to a notice of claim filed this week.
Jesus Reyes Sepulveda claims that Tucson Police performed an unlawful "S.B. 1070 check" on his immigration status during a prolonged traffic stop in January.
S.B. 1070 is Arizona's controversial immigration law that includes a so-called "papers please" provision, which requires police to check the immigration status of someone arrested when there is "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is not in the country legally.
Sepulveda claims that officers referred him to the Border Patrol after discovering that he had a suspended license for an unpaid ticket and expired insurance. Police searched his vehicle without consent and called the Border Patrol for an immigration check, he says. He ended up spending three days in the Eloy Immigration Detention Center before he was able to pay a bond.
"The detention of Mr. Reyes Sepulveda was prolonged by TPD beyond the time reasonably necessary to complete the original purpose of the stop (purportedly for driving without valid proof of insurance) without any additional probable cause to believe he was engaging in any unlawful activity that would justify his criminal detention," the notice of claim states. "Mr. Reyes Sepulveda was detained without a valid criminal law basis and based solely on suspicion of unlawful presence."
Sepulveda says he will settle the claim for $250,000. He is represented by James Lyall with the ACLU of Arizona.