Justice Dept Sues Sheriff Arpaio, in Its Investigation of Discrimination Against Latinos!

U.S. Sues Arizona sheriff in civil rights probe

The Justice Department says Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio failed to turn over documents in its investigation into whether his department discriminated against Latinos while pursuing illegal immigrants.

(Sheriff Joe Arpaio confronts protesters and speaks with members of the media during an Aug. 10 rally in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. (Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images))


I personally liked Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Folksy” way of speaking, when he visited Orange County a couple of months ago; however, the Rule of Law does not depend on the charisma of the individual enforcing it.   Thus, this investigation by the Justice Department should make it clear to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and any other elected official/politician that NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW, especially when some would use and abuse the authority entrusted to them by The People, as Sheriff Arpaio and his department is alleged to have done. This is a basic principle that ensures Legitimacy and the Consent of the Governed, and that assures that elected officials follow the Rule of Law. (Francisco J. Barragan).


(Excerpted from an article by nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com)

“The Justice Department said that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was the first local law enforcement official in 30 years to refuse to provide documents in a federal civil rights inquiry. The federal government could withhold $113 million in funding from Maricopa County if Arpaio can’t produce records demonstrating that he avoids racial discrimination.

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented. It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division.

Arpaio contended that the lawsuit was a political move by the Obama administration…But his battle with the federal government predates the Obama presidency.

In the summer of 2008, under President George W. Bush, the Justice Department launched a preliminary investigation into the allegations of racial profiling. In March 2009, after President Obama had assumed office, the department expanded the inquiry into a full-fledged probe.

The investigation started with what federal officials contended was a routine document request — 51 categories of material. According to the lawsuit filed Thursday, the department received only 11 pages.

The last time the Justice Department had to sue to obtain documents in a civil rights probe was during a 1978 investigation of employment practices of a sheriff’s department in Virginia.

For the last 18 months, Arpaio has publicly said he would not give federal investigators access to his jails or other facilities and dismissed the inquiry as politically motivated. His lawyer met with Justice Department lawyers in Washington last week and contended that the material the federal government requested was outside its scope of investigation.

This is not Arpaio’s first battle over documents related to possible civil rights abuses. His department faces a lawsuit from an array of civil rights groups for allegedly racially profiling. A federal judge this year found that Arpaio’s department improperly destroyed immigration-related paperwork that was evidence in that case, and approved sanctions against the agency.”

About Francisco Barragan