ACLU sharply criticizes “Gypsy Scam” bulletin issued by Arapahoe County Sheriff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org DENVER –In a letter sent today, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado demanded that Arapahoe County Sheriff J. Grayson Robinson rescind a recent Sheriff’s Office alert titled “Gypsy Scams” that could result in the racial profiling of persons described by the Sheriff’s Office as “Gypsies.” The Sheriff’s Office bulletin describes a “Gypsy” as a “medium to dark complexioned Caucasian” with “dark hair and dark eyes” who “are often mistaken as Hispanic.” In the document, the Sheriff’s Office warns that “Gypsies” target the elderly and commit major crimes like home repair frauds and burglaries. In the ACLU letter, Staff Attorney Sara Rich noted that the Sheriff’s physical description of “Gypsies” covered a wide swatch of the population, and the Sheriff’s warning that this group commits major crimes “can only serve to heighten any preexisting biases that community members may already have against ethnic groups that fit this general description, including Latinos.”

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