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Feds Sue Arizona Sheriff in Civil Rights Probe

Feds Sue Arizona Sheriff in Civil Rights Probe

Source: Associated Press

Associated Press

September 02, 2010

PHOENIX – The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics.

The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office’s defiance “unprecedented,” and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminate against people with limited English skills.

Arpaio had been given until Aug. 17 to hand over documents it first asked for 15 months ago.

Arpaio’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, declined immediate comment on the lawsuit, saying he had just received it and hadn’t yet conferred with his client.

Arpaio’s office had said it has fully cooperated in the jail inquiry but won’t hand over additional documents into the examination of the alleged unconstitutional searches because federal authorities haven’t said exactly what they were investigating.

It’s the latest action against Arizona by the federal government, which earlier sued the state to stop its strict new immigration law that requires police officers to question people about their immigration status.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix and names Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the county.

Arizona’s new law — most of which a federal judge has put on hold — mirrors many of the policies Arpaio has put into place in the greater Phoenix area, where he set up a hot line for the public to report immigration violations, conducts crime and immigration sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods and frequently raids workplaces for people in the U.S. illegally.

Arpaio believes the inquiry is focused on his immigration sweeps, patrols where deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases heavily Latino areas — to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders.

Critics say his deputies pull people over for minor traffic infractions because of the color of their skin so they can ask them for their proof of citizenship.

Arpaio denies allegations of racial profiling, saying people are stopped if deputies have probable cause to believe they’ve committed crimes and that it’s only afterward that deputies find many of them are illegal immigrants.

The sheriff’s office has said half of the 1,032 people arrested in the sweeps have been illegal immigrants.

Last year, the federal government stripped Arpaio of his special power to enforce federal immigration law. The sheriff continued his sweeps through the enforcement of state immigration laws.

Last year, the nearly $113 million that the county received from the federal government accounted for about 5 percent of the county’s $2 billion budget. Arpaio’s office said it receives $3 million to $4 million each year in federal funds.

In a separate investigation, a federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining allegations that Arpaio has abused his powers with actions such as intimidating county workers by showing up at their homes at nights and on weekends.

Associated Press writer Paul Davenport contributed to this report.

  • 11042009255_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Vive le-Sheriff Joe! If AZ took DOD police training, I'd be an MCSO deputy overnight and help defend not only the county, but the country. We need more like him.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    The walls are closing in on Joe Thank God. Lol...
    He needs to be gone.

  • Add_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    robocop and copper380 covered all the bases. well said to both of you. And GO JOE!!!

  • Me_last_wk_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump Copper and Robo

  • Me2__1__max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Behind Joe 110%

  • 1051193310_l_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    A true American getting railroaded by our liberal courts!

  • Memorialbadge_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    GO JOE ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !!

  • Car_004_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    P.S.............GO JOE!!!!!!! and BUMP Robocop33

  • Car_004_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    This is CRAZY!!!! How is it racial profiling if the operator of a vehicle has an infraction and stopped. So what? Now we give another right to illegals? THE RIGHT TO DRIVE ANYTHING THEY WANT AND ANY WAY THEY WANT while the rest of us are expected to keep our vehicles in top repair and drive according to the laws? I am so sick of this crap I am nearly punching the buttons through my computer. If you break the law,, ANY LAW, and it is discovered you are illegal.......BYE BYE. NO MATTER WHAT RACE YOU ARE. I do not have actual numbers in front of me but I can make an educated guess that the largest number of illegals in this country are hispanic......not a racial comment, just an observation. So if a majority of illegals arrested are hispanic than that is not racial thing it is a numbers thing. I do not have a racial bone in my body but am accused of it because I am a white cop that enforces the law. I am sick of the racial card being thrown in my face because I enforce the laws without color other than the black and white pages and print the laws are written in.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Applaud Robocop's below statements - it hits the mark dead on! As others as well. I know the LE community is aware of this but civilians need to wake up to this horrific conversion of our beloved country as well.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago


    I agree with Robocop, this is just another example of Mr. Obama's fundemental hate for this country acted out through a policy of his administartion.I heard an interview with Sheriff Joe yesterday and he says what they are hoping for is that they can scare the politicians in the Phoenix area enough to make him back down. He says that he will not, and I applaud him for that. Let's face it, we all became cops to stand up what is right and face down the bullies of the world, and I have never seen a bigger bunch of bullies than Mr. Obama and his ilk. We should all stand behind Sheriff Joe and support his fight, because if they back him down, we better all get ready to hand over our guns and badges.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    The federal government is sueing over laws being enforced now huh???


    I wonder just how many law suits that this will open up for and against feds in the years to come!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 4 years ago

    BUMP to all. If the Administration actually cared about enforcing the laws, they'd give Sheriff Joe a medal, not a lawsuit. Hmph.

  • 1979_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    CHP, Obama knows exactly what he is doing. He absolutely hates the America that is laid out in the Constitution. He wants to and has said emphatically that he is going to fundamentally change the USA. That means he wants to and is trying to change the fundamentals laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He was brought up and taught socialism and Communism and believes that everything should be controlled by the Federal Government, period. Obama does not want to be President, he wants to "RULE". In a statement given by his staff he flat stated that he would be ready to "rule" from day one! Just look at his appointments to his cabinet and to his assistants. Every one of them believes in "Socialism" and the power of Government. Hell, his appointment to the head of the Labor Department was a Union lobbyist who has stated that everyone should be in a Union and that Unions should be in power of all businesses! Open you eyes folks and actually LOOK at what is going on. It will shock and scare the hell out of you.

  • Dove_over_flag_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Keep up the fight Joe, many hundreds of thousands are backing you in your attempt to rid OUR country of this crap. Am sick and TIRED of reading of the "rights" of ILLEGALS, yes I used the dreaded "I" word. They are NOT IMMIGRANTS. That denotes LEGAL entry into our country. Obama needs to pull his head out of his A** and see what the cartels are turning OUR damn country into.

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