Birther Sheriff, Feds Clash Over Monitors

Joe Arpaio refuses to let DOJ 'run my office'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2012 4:24 AM CDT
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio listens to one of his attorneys during a news conference, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – Talks between the Department of Justice and Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio have broken down, and now the feds are threatening to sue over the sheriff's alleged abuses against Hispanic suspects, reports the Washington Post. The Justice Department is insisting Arpaio's Maricopa County sheriff office take on a court-appointed monitor to oversee changes, but Arpaio's lawyers canceled the latest round of DOJ negotiations at the last minute. The DOJ has given Arpaio an April 14 deadline to settle on a wide range of civil rights complaints; otherwise he could face a lawsuit.

It's the second time Arpaio's side has canceled such meetings—the last time occurred on the day Arpaio held a press conference to call President Obama's birth certificate a fake. “We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith,” wrote a Justice official to Arpaio’s attorney. “DOJ considers the oversight of an independent monitor to be an absolute necessity for meaningful and sustainable reform.” But Arpaio shows no signs of backing down. "I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected sheriff, and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government," Arpaio said.

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