Justice Department to Sue AZ Sheriff Arpaio After Talks Fall Through
The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known internationally as “America’s toughest sheriff,” saying talks between the two sides have fallen through.
The Obama administration and Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had been in the midst of settlement talks, after the Justice Department accused it of systematically discriminating against Latinos.
As part of the settlement, the department wanted Arpaio to allow an independent monitor to oversee reforms at his office. The Justice Department called it a “key, non-negotiable requirement.”
The two sides were scheduled to meet Wednesday, but Arpaio called off the meeting at the last minute, the Justice Department said.
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“We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin Jr. in a letter to Arpaio’s legal counsel.
It added: “MCSO’s refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil action.”
Arpaio shot back, saying he would not “surrender” his officer to the federal government.