DOJ Threatens to Sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio will face a Department of Justice lawsuit if he does not cooperate with a civil rights investigation, according to a letter obtained by the Arizona Republic. The Justice Department began an investigation into allegations of discrimination and unconstitutional searches and seizures last year. The sheriff’s office said at the time they would not cooperate with the investigation.
In the letter, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez wrote the sheriff’s office must turn over documents by Aug. 17 to avoid a lawsuit:
“MCSO’s refusal to cooperate fully with the Division’s investigation makes it an extreme outlier when compared with other recipients of federal financial assistance, which have uniformly recognized their obligation to cooperate with the Division’s investigations of alleged discrimination. Although we would prefer voluntary compliance in this case as well, we will not hesitate to commence litigation after Aug. 17, if MCSO continues to take the position that it need not cooperate with the Division’s investigation.”
Arpaio, an outspoken supporter of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law, has been criticized for his extreme approach to immigration enforcement, which earned him the nicknames “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and “Hitler.”