The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division has cut off negotiations with Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, according to Talking Points Memo. According to a letter obtained by TPM, Arpaio’s office is refusing to consider working with an independent monitor which is said to be a “non-negotiable component of any settlement.”
In December, the DOJ accused Arpaio’so office of engaging in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing, including racial profiling in traffic stops, immigration operations and discriminating against Spanish speakers in the county jails.
“DOJ considers the oversight of an independent monitor to be an absolute necessity for meaningful and sustainable reform of MCSO,” DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin said in the letter. “It was disappointing, to say the least, for you to contact us 24 hours before our negotiations were scheduled to continue and raise, for the first time, a precondition that you understood would result in the cancellation of negotiations – and, by extension, the initiation of a civil lawsuit – and calls into question whether you were ever interested in settling this matter.”
“This is Arpaio being Arpaio,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter.
“Arpaio, who’s stalled and whined during every part of the federal investigation into his office, and became the first office that the Justice Department had to sue just to gain access to their internal records, is staying true to form.”
“Most police departments who are approached by the DOJ for these sorts of investigations engage in negotiations with the DOJ as a way of showing that they are interested in gaining back public trust. They will agree to reforms generally because their public reputations have been shot and they want to get away from the threat of federal oversight. Not so with Arpaio,” Hing added.
“It looks everyone now will be gearing up for a fight that will be more dramatic than it needs to be. To the courts we go,” Hing went on to say.