In a high-profile press conference in Phoenix on December 15th – which many people believe was hastily arranged to distract attention from the 1-year anniversary of Border Agent Brian Terry’s murder – DOJ Civil Rights Division head Thomas Perez released a 22-page complaint accusing the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office of “discriminating” against Hispanics as part of his well-known crackdowns on illegal aliens, and “Tent City” detention facilities. However, the DOJ failed to provide any evidence to back up their claims, only threats.
In an interview, Arpaio said the complaint was nothing more than anecdotal and didn’t prove there are systematic sheriff’s department policies aimed at depriving Hispanics in Maricopa County of their civil rights.
“If Eric Holder has evidence that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has engaged in systematic violations of the civil rights of Hispanics, then show me the evidence,” Arpaio said.
Sheriff Joe’s comments follow a 38-page response to the DOJ complaint by Arpaio attorney Joseph J. Popolizio, in which he made it clear that the sheriff was willing to cooperate with Holder and the DOJ,but only if the DOJ revealed to the MCSO and the public its proof.
“Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and the MCSO are certainly interested in constructive dialogue, but constructive dialogue can only occur if the DOJ provides the facts and information on which it bases its findings,” Popolizio wrote.
The reply from Justice displayed their typical arrogance: “If MCSO wants to debate the facts instead of fixing the problems stated in our findings, we will do so by way of litigation,” DOJ said in the statement.
Was Arpaio concerned that the DOJ might take him and his sheriff’s department to federal court? No way.
“If the Justice Department wants to take me to court, I’m ready,” Arpaio said. “I report to the people of Maricopa County,” Arpaio said, “and I intend to continue enforcing the immigration laws of the state of Arizona as long as I hold this office.”