Friday, September 3, 2010

Justice Department Sues Arizona Sheriff

From a Washington Post article by Stephanie McCrummen:
The Justice Department sued Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, on Thursday, saying his office has repeatedly declined to hand over documents to federal investigators examining whether his aggressive tactics against illegal immigrants have violated their civil rights.

Arpaio, whose Phoenix area office has drawn widespread attention for his unusual practices, has been the focus of U.S. investigators who have opened criminal and civil investigations of the sheriff and his office.

Justice officials said that Arpaio's decision not to respond to routine document requests was rare, and that he had produced few of the documents sought.

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

In a statement, Arpaio and his attorney suggested that the lawsuit is a publicity stunt. They said that the sheriff's office had turned over "thousands of pages" of documents and that it pledged as recently as this week to cooperate with federal authorities.
Just wanted to point out - if the sheriff's office had complied with federal authorities before the lawsuit, then why are they now vowing to cooperate?  It sounds like Arpaio got caught with his pants down and is trying to spin this story around to make him look like the victim.

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