Lawsuit: US citizen held because of skin color, Latino name

NEW ORLEANS — A federal lawsuit says a Louisiana sheriff’s office kept a U.S. citizen illegally detained for more than three days, wrongly suspecting the Honduran-born man was in the country illegally.

Lawyers for the New Orleans-based American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed the suit Wednesday in Baton Rouge on behalf of Ramon Torres. It says Torres was jailed on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Ascension Parish on Aug. 31, 2018.

It says a judge ordered his release the next day. But the suit claims the Ascension Sheriff’s Office held him until Sept. 4, despite being provided with copies of his certificate of naturalization, social security card and U.S.-issued passport.

Sheriff Bobby Webre issued a statement saying he disputes the allegations and will “offer a rigorous defense in court.”

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