- Associated Press - Sunday, August 21, 2016

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) - The U.S. Justice Department is dropping efforts to appeal a ruling clearing a North Carolina sheriff of civil-rights allegations he ordered deputies to target Hispanic residents for enforcement.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, dismissed the government’s appeal after government attorneys said Thursday it reached a settlement with Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson.

The Justice Department’s decision comes a year after a federal judge in Winston-Salem ruled the government failed to prove Johnson’s deputies routinely targeted Latinos for traffic stops.

Johnson says his officers have always served in a respectful, professional way and it bothered him to think they had been labeled as villains and racists. The Republican was elected to a new four-year term last November.

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