DOJ Plays Cat and Mouse Games with Arizona Sheriff Arpaio over Illegal Immigration

The following is a guest post by Joseph Hall.

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DOJ Plays Cat and Mouse Games with Arizona Sheriff Arpaio over Illegal Immigration

For months, the Department of Justice and Arizona Sheriff Arpaio have clashed over his enforcement of Arizona’s illegal immigration laws. Arpaio has the reputation of being the toughest sheriff in the country and has been the subject of intense scrutiny by AG Eric Holder’s investigators. On Wednesday, the DOJ threatened to withdraw from negotiations which would likely lead to a civil suit against the Arizona Sheriffs Department.

However, there has been no presentation of evidence by DOJ. According to Azcentral.com, “Arpaio probe: Feds told to ‘put up or shut up’, (JJ Hensley)

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery accused federal officials of spreading misinformation and trying to foment unrest in Maricopa County by not providing proof that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s agency engages in discriminatory police practices.

Montgomery on Wednesday made his strongest statements yet about the investigation into Arpaio’s office, calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to “put up or shut up” by disclosing what evidence it has in its case.

Federal investigators released a 22-page report last December that accused the Sheriff’s Office of widespread discrimination against Latino residents through its patrol and jail operations. Sheriff’s officials have said the report contained anecdotal information but lacked details to substantiate allegations that the agency had a systemic problem with discriminatory policing.

The DOJ seems to be playing games in an apparent effort to intimidate Arpaio into accepting a federal observer on to the department. Yet, Arpaio shows no signs of giving in to DOJ demands.

In an interview with CBS news, “Sheriff Joe Arpaio: “I’m not a social worker, I’m a cop,” (John Blackstone)

In his latest battle with the U.S. Department of Justice over alleged civil rights abuses, Sheriff Joe Arpaio remains defiant.

“I sure don’t want to be known as a nice guy,” he said. “I’m not a social worker, I’m a cop.”

The 79-year-old has been in office since 1982. Many who have gone through his jails, including his desert tent city where inmates wear pink underwear, have long accused Arpaio of violating their rights.

But it’s his department’s treatment of Hispanics that prompted federal officials this week to demand an independent monitor.

“Are they going after this sheriff?” asked Arpaio. “Well we know why, because they don’t like me enforcing illegal immigration law.”

A three-year investigation by the Justice Department found what it called “unconstitutional policing” and “a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos” who are up to nine times more likely than whites to be stopped by a Maricopa County deputy.”

While Arpaio seems locked into a partisan fight over Arizona’s illegal immigrant law, he remains dedicated to his job. The DOJ charge that he pulls over Latinos more frequently than other races seems ludicrous in light of the fact he is searching for illegal immigrants.  This type of search is lawful because the description of the people being stopped is consistent with the description of the activity described in the Arizona law.

Watch Fox News video: “Talks break down between DOJ, Sheriff Joe Arpaio”

Police are allowed to search for suspects meeting general descriptions, in this case, illegal immigrants from Mexico. The DOJ and the Obama White House oppose the Arizona law that Arpaio is enforcing.

Submitted by: Joseph Hall