JON E. DOUGHERTY, NEWSROOM AMERICA
The Justice Department said Wednesday it plans to sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for alleged civil rights violations that includes racial profiling of Latinos.
The department says it has been attempting to work with Arpaio to train his Maricopa County deputies in making constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people who have been arrested and reach out to the Latino community, to let members know his department is also there to protect them, the Associated Press reported.
Arpaio has vehemently denied his department engages in racial profiling. He has also resisted the appointment of a court monitor because he says every policy decision made would then have to be cleared through an observer and, in essence, nullify his authority.
Justice Department officials said they informed Arpaio’s lawyer April 3 that his refusal to accept a court-appointed monitor would not be acceptable and that the department would commence legal proceedings against him in the form of a federal lawsuit.
The “notice of intent to file civil action” was sent to an Arpaio lawyer Wednesday by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads up the department’s civil rights division.
Perez has said it’s been more than 100 days since his department’s findings were provided to Arpaio and his department, but that federal authorities have not met with the sheriff’s department to discuss a consent agreement, AP reported.
Arpaio has maintained that federal authorities have consistently mischaracterized his department and his policies, and he remained defiant in the face of the lawsuit threat.
“If they sue, we’ll go to court. And then we’ll find out the real story,” he said Wednesday. “There’s lots of miscommunication emanating from Washington. They broke off communications.
“They’re telling me how to run my organization. I’d like to get this resolved, but I’m not going to give up my authority to the federal government. It’s as simple as that,” he said.
Separate from the lawsuit, a federal grand jury has been investigating Arpaio’s office over allegations of criminal abuse of power since late 2009, focusing on the sheriff’s department’s anti-corruption squad.
© 2012 Newsroom America.