Department of Justice Sues Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Department of Justice Sues Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Department of Justice Sues Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The United States Department of Justice announced Thursday that it would sue an Arizona sheriff for his failure to turn over requested documents dealing with racial discrimination.  The sheriff in question is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is no stranger to controversy.

The controversial sheriff is accused of refusing to cooperate with a federal investigation over his departments alleged racial profiling, and discrimination towards Latinos in his efforts to apprehend illegal immigrants. 

While Arpaio contends that the investigation is nothing more than a witch-hunt by the Obama administration, which also filed a suit earlier in the summer to block the controversial Arizona immigration law, others see the lawsuit differently.

As far back as the summer of 2008, while George W. Bush was still in office, Arpaio has been under investigation for the allegations of racial profiling and discrimination.  When current President Barak Obama took over the oval office, the inquiry into Arpaio was expanded to an official inquiry in March of 2009.

At the heart of the lawsuit is Arpaio’s refusal to turn over departmental documents to the Justice Department proving that he, and his officers, in no way are guilty of the accusations.  Justice Department officials says that they requested documents in 51 categories of material, standard in a federal inquiry, and only received 11 pages of documents from Arpaio’s offices.  Arpaio has made it clear over the past 18-months that he does not intend to give federal officials access to his jails, facilities, or documents.  He has repeatedly stated that the documents officials have requested are not within the scope of the investigation.

This is the first time the Department of Justice has been forced to sue for access to civil rights documents since 1978.


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