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Officials say it appears to be similar to a Japanese dock that washed ashore in June in Newport, Ore. That debris was cut up and removed.

The team represents federal, state and tribal agencies.


Civil rights complaint filed against county sheriff

RALEIGH — The Justice Department has filed a civil rights complaint against a North Carolina sheriff over what it says is his systematic racial profiling of Hispanics.

The suit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court follows a two-year investigation during which federal authorities concluded Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson and his deputies made unwarranted arrests with the goal of maximizing deportations.

Federal officials say Sheriff Johnson violated the constitutional rights of numerous U.S. citizens by illegally targeting and detaining Hispanics without probable cause. The complaint also alleges Sheriff Johnson sought to obstruct the federal investigation by withholding documents and falsifying records.

Sheriff Johnson is a Republican first elected in 2002. He says the probe is politically motivated. Sheriff Johnson’s department has already been suspended from a program to screen the immigration status of jail inmates.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports