The Department of Justice has had enough of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. After months of trying to come to some resolution to the civil rights violations plaguing the office, the DOJ announced it will sue the MCSO.
Arpaio’s office first came under scrutiny in 2008 and it was in December the DOJ investigated concluded Arpaio ran the MCSO in such a fashion that it created a “culture of bias” and that officers had systematically and intentionally discriminated against Latinos.
The announcement comes as the Supreme Court is less than two weeks away from hearing arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant bill SB 1070.
As part of a part of any settlement agreement the MCSO would come under a federal monitor until the culture of discrimination shifts. This is a routine requirement but one that Arpaio would simply not agree to. So it seems he’s taken the idea of federal court supervision of his department as his last symbolic stand in defiance of Washington overreach.
By all accounts Arpaio has not conducted himself in response to the federal investigation as a party negotiating in good faith. He refused to turn over documents, make himself available for interview or otherwise participate in any productive fashion. This announcement was an inevitability from the start.
Photo from gage skidmore via flickr.