Justice Department sues Sheriff Joe Arpaio

May 11, 2012

By Jacques Billeaud, The Associated Press

As defiant as ever, get-tough Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces a federal court showdown over charges that deputies on his trademark immigration patrols racially profiled Latinos in violation of civil rights law.

After months of negotiations failed to reach a settlement over the allegations, the U.S. Justice Department took the rare step Thursday of suing.

“We have invariably been able to work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies to build better departments and safer communities,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said.

 Arpaio and his department “have been a glaring exception,” said Perez, who heads the civil rights division.

The main issue that caused talks to break down last month was federal officials’ insistence that Arpaio agree to a court-appointed monitor for the department. Arpaio objected, saying it would undermine his authority.

“I am not going to surrender my office to the federal government,” a visibly angry Arpaio said at an afternoon news conference. “I will fight this to the bitter end.”

The lawsuit means that a federal judge will decide the escalating, long-standing dispute.

The Justice Department, which had been investigating Arpaio on civil rights allegations for more than three years and faced a similar impasse earlier in the investigation, said it was left with no choice but to sue the sheriff to seek the court-appointed monitor it wants to oversee the law enforcement agency.

The DOJ had filed another lawsuit against Arpaio that alleged his office refused to fully cooperate with a request for records and access to jails and employees. It was settled last summer after the office complied.

The latest lawsuit comes as part of the DOJ’s effort to enforce a law passed after the verdict in theRodney King police brutality case and the Los Angeles riots. It bans police from systematically violating constitutional rights.

Normally, settlements are filed in court as part of lawsuits that aren’t contested by the police agencies.

Since the law’s passage, federal officials said that only once before has the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against a police department with which they were unable to reach an agreement.

In 1999, they filed a lawsuit against Columbus, Ohio, police, but the two sides eventually settled, Perez said.

The DOJ first leveled the allegations against Arpaio in December, saying a culture of disregard for basic constitutional rights prevailed at his office, which covers the Phoenix metropolitan area.

To read more, visit: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0510/Justice-Department-sues-Sheriff-Joe-Arpaio

5 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Donald K Bare says:

    That’s because those polititions wan all the illegals they can get to vote for them and in return give them whatever they want.

  • Rattlerjake says:

    Why is it that we are extending Constitutional rights to ILLEGALS? The Constitution pertains to the legal citizens of the United States and to some extent to legally visiting foreigners, not to Illegal non-citizens. Our government needs to get their heads out of their asses and allow states, especially the border states, to enforce immigration law as they need to and solve our illegal immigration problem.

  • CTH says:

    Hopefully when Obumble and his idiot attorney general are gone after November this suit will be just a vague memory of what the justice department is not empowered to do.

  • apple eater says:

    Fight ’em Joe. Arrest them when they come into Maracopa country for violating the INS laws of both the USA and Arizona. I wish I had the money to pay for just one day for your legal needs, but I try to live on less than $10k a year and just don’t have enough to give.

    You are a true patriot and honorable man. I greatly respect and admire you and your efforts to protect and defend the Constitution and the people of this country.

    Give ’em hell for me too. A devout fan in TN.

  • Rita says:

    I call this administration the stinky sewers, oops that should be “suers”. ” ” not in the dictionary,
    but with 57 or 58 states to sue I haven’t got time to find another rhyme.

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