The Arizona Republic is reporting tonight that the US Department of Justice will sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Thursday over his office's years of racial profiling and stonewalling in the face of two federal investigations -- this DOJ probe and a grand jury looking into more abuse of powers shit.
A source close to the federal investigation said the Justice Department expected to file a civil lawsuit Thursday against the Sheriff's Office, and the federal government made that intention known again to Arpaio with a two paragraph letter delivered Wednesday that noted stalled negotiations between Arpaio's representatives and the Justice Department. Arizona RepublicAs readers here know, in December the DOJ released its findings following a 3-year probe into Arpaio's discriminatory activities, such as his "sweeps" program, where deputies march through neighborhoods and round up suspicious persons (i.e. brown). Here's how I described the December report at the time:
According to the Justice Department, Arpaio:Literally hours after that Dec. 15 DOJ press conference, Latino Gulf War veteran Marty Atencio was beaten and Tased by Arpaio's deputies while in custody. He died 5 days later after his family removed him from life support.
• routinely stopped Hispanic drivers without probable cause (4 to 9 times more often than other drivers);
• punished Hispanic inmates who did not understand English;
• used excessive force against arrested and detained Hispanics;
• retaliated against human rights advocates (arrests, lawsuits, etc.);
• failed to provide proper training to his deputies in order to avoid civil rights abuses.
Arpaio was given nearly a month to respond to the DOJ's findings, but of course he used that time, and a lot more, to do what he always does: threat, stonewall, intimidate, and bluster. (And, don't forget, he was busy investigating President Obama's birth certificate, which is certainly the business of a county sheriff (WTF?!), at the same time he was neglecting to prosecute more than 400 sex crimes, many committed against children.) When the Feds attempted to work with the Sheriff,
... talks broke down before they got started, as Arpaio's team refused to meet the Justice Department's demand for a court-appointed monitor to oversee whatever agreement was reached. AZ RepublicRefusing to cooperate, the Sheriff's Office issued its own 17-page mostly boilerplate PR tool outlining changes they would make, such as more community outreach and transparency. Kinda late, eh? Few of the people and groups who've been battling Arpaio for nearly two decades, including the ACLU's Alessandra Soler-Meetze, are doing backflips over the plan:
"The same person who has condoned and implemented these racially discriminatory practices is in no position to lead a community-relations effort to build trust," she said. "I have absolutely no confidence that any of this is going to happen, given who is in charge of implementing it."Tonight's Arizona Republic story ends with a "Duh, ya think?"
The biggest challenge might be getting a skeptical public to accept the sincerity of [the] sheriff's reform efforts.