Arizona Sheriff Sued By Feds

Despite touting “law and order” credentials in his crusade against undocumented workers, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has taken the position that he’s above the law, choosing instead to ignore repeated requests by the Department of Justice to turn over documents in connection with allegations that his department discriminations against Latinos.  Now that position has landed him in a lawsuit, as DOJ has finally said “enough”.  Last week they sued Arpaio and have asked a federal court to compel Arpaio to turn over relevant and routine documents DOJ has sought since March of 2009. 

The Department of Justice’s investigation pre-dates the confrontation with the state of Arizona over SB 1070 but encapsulates the escalating standoff between certain elements of the right in Arizona and the federal government.  

The documents at the heart of this dispute all surround repeated complaints that Arpaio and the MCSO unlawfully targets Latinos in its law enforcement efforts and unlawfully treat Latinos differently once detained.  Examples of complaints against Arpaio include unlawfully refusing to provide access to translators, conducting illegal immigration sweeps and shackling pregnant detainees during birth, all in violation of federal law. 

Local sheriffs can be empowered, via federal law, to enforce federal immigration laws.  Last year Arpaio was stripped of his special power to enforce federal immigration law because of the complaints.  Arpaio is under a separate federal grand jury investigation in Phoenix for complaints that he abused his powers by intimidating county workers by showing up at their homes at nights and weekends.

The total lack of cooperation by Arpaio in the civil rights investigation has been called “unprecedented”.  As a recipient of federal funding, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is not only legally required to follow federal laws concerning the staffing and procedures at their facilities, they are mandated to keep records of arrests, complaints, and policies for addressing discrimination complaints.  That means that Sheriff Arpaio is accountable to the taxpayers of the United States, in addition to his own local constituents.

According to a DOJ spokeswoman, it has been 30 years since any police agency has refused to cooperate with a civil rights investigation, and the feds have never before had to sue in such a situation to force a police agency to provide access to routine documents.  But given Arpaio’s ties to the hard right and his support from nativists pushing an anti-Latino agenda, his utter disregard for the rule of law comes as no surprise

photo courtesy of ryanjreiley via Flickr


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin5 years ago

No human can be illegal. In that case a vast majority of "American citizens" are illegal, because I can find no record whatsoever you even asked permission to live in the USA. Remember, there were actually people living in America when you or your ancestors)came there. And those illegal immigrants did their absolutely best to make those original citizens extinct. Before you cast stones at todays "undocumented" persons living in the US of A, clean your own dirty history of ethnic cleansing and illegal transportation of forced labor. I rest my case.

Judith S.
Judith S.5 years ago

Is that what it was? The Truth? I thought it was all your opinion. LOL

Veronica F.
Veronica F.5 years ago

Julie C:

ROTFLMAO – Two things, mental giant: Your reading comprehension skills suck. If you "got it", you would've clearly seen that my posts do not contradict as they clearly show my response to another mental giant who posted as fact the “347 home invasion” garbage. I easily showed that this is factually incorrect. Further, I clearly showed the same mental giant that the ABC News report is, in fact, factually incorrect. If you pulled your empty melon out of your arse, you would have not only recognized this, but you would have seen the links posted to back these points. The bullsh*t that the Neo-Nazi’s best friends in government - Brewer, Pearce and Arpaio – are spewing is being gobbled up by gullible fools such as yourself. So, you get your granny panties in a wad, get all emotional and made a fool of yourself. Congrats.

I posted links that show that while the cowardly Reich-Wing wrings their hands over the "flood" of illegal aliens into AZ, not only is the number of illegal aliens crossing the border down, but deportations are up from the prior administration. While the Reich-Wing, under Chimpy McFlightsuit thumped their sunken chests in fake bravado over “protecting the border”, not a thing was done. Whereas, since 2009, crossings are down; deportations are up from 2007. Damned! Those pesky facts again inferring with such a great fantasy!!

I need to get a clue - LOL - seems to me like I’ve already got several …

Christine G.
Past Member 5 years ago

Some people find it hard to hear the truth. When they can't think of a legitimate response to an opposing point of view, they resort to ad hominem attacks. ROTFLMAO

Judith S.
Judith S.5 years ago

Christine: A little overly dramatic, aren't we?

Christine G.
Past Member 5 years ago

Can't abide by the Constitution? Want to take the law into your own hands? Defy a court order? Poison human beings in detention? Cook human beings in detention? May I remind you that everyone in America, regardless of immigration status, color, sex, etc., has the right to due process. Our legal system is predicated on innocence until proven guilty. Most Americans like it this way. We have laws here regarding the treatment of human beings. So cry me a river. Those of you who thrill vicariously at the inhumanity of Arapio will have to find another avocation.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle5 years ago

Yea!! I hope that blow-hard bigoted sheriff finally gets what he deserves -- he's been a pain for many years, loving his power. He gives law-enforcement a bad name.

JULIE C.5 years ago

Veronica, you really contradict yourself...1st you state specify, "347 home invasions, all perpetrated by Mexican gang members" then, "ABC News report from Feb. 11, 2009: "Phoenix, Ariz., has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City"...again, largely due to the ILLEGAL ALIEN (ie: Illegal MEXICAN) POPULATION & CRIMINALS!
Next, you condemn Arpaio for his actions & praise Obama's administration for deporting illegals ~ WHAT A JOKE! Both You & your flip-flop opinions & your use of statistics. Yes, prior to the ACTION OF ARIZONA'S GOVERNOR & SHERIFF ARPAIO our states crime rate WAS a nightmare & we fully admit it. However, having Family & Friends in the Border Patrol, Police Depts & even the D.O.I. & their involvement w/ Homeland Security's efforts to resolve Arizona's sad state of affairs I now for a 'Divine Fact' that WE've been requesting help from the FEDS for many years! The FACT that Arizona's Gov. AND Sheriff Arpaio have finally TAKEN THE PROBLEM INTO THEIR OWN HANDS USING FEDERAL & STATE LAWS is simply due to ARIZONA, NOT Obumma & his rinky-dink ILLEGAL Presidential Status & CRIMINALLY FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED Administration. They've had to catch-up to what's going on down here in Arizona (where I've lived & voted for 40yrs!) due to PUBLIC PRESSURE TO SUPPORT THE STATES & THE FEDERAL LAW.
Get a Clue, Veronica...your own deliberate ignoran