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Arizona Sheriff Who Targeted Latinos, Now Targeted by the Feds
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On Tuesday, the Obama administration announce that it would be suing Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department for violating civil rights by improperly targeting Latinos during operations for preventing illegal immigration. Joe Arpaio’s controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants had pushed the issue to headlines prompting many states to adopt tougher laws against illegal immigrants.

The Department of Justice and the office of the Maricopa County Sheriff have been conducting settlement talks for months over allegations that officers made unlawful stops and arrests of Latinos on a regular basis. The allegations also include the use of excessive force against the Hispanic community and inadequate provision of protection to them.

However, the talks seem to have broken down as the Sheriff’s office refused the demand of the Justice Department to appoint an independent monitor by a federal court for overseeing compliance with the settlement. According to the Obama administration, the proposed settlement has already run into a draft of 128 pages.

  
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Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general in the civil rights division of the DOJ, recently mailed a letter to a lawyer representing the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office saying “We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith.”

The letter further mentions, “MCSO’s refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil (court) action.” Austin also mentioned that the Justice Department has recently discovered information that showed Arpaio’s office had failed, “to reasonably investigate sex crimes.”

In a report issued in December, the DOJ mentioned several civil rights violations by Arpaio’s office including the fact that Latino drivers were four to nine times more likely to be stopped by Arpaio’s force than non-Latinos.

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However, Arpaio continues to deny any wrongdoing either on his part or that of his staff and has accused the Obama administration of failing to deal with the problem of 11.5 million illegal immigrants believed to be within United States.

On Tuesday, Arpaio said that the appointment of a monitor would tactically deprive him of his responsibility for his police force, including decisions about policies, operations, enforcement, and jail programs. Arpaio said, “To the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say: This will not happen, not on my watch!”





 

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