Maverick Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is challenging the Obama administration’s Department of Justice to present evidence to back its charge that his office is discriminating against Hispanics.
“Prove it,” Arpaio said in remarks directed at Holder in an interview with WND.
“If Eric Holder has evidence that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has engaged in systematic violations of the civil rights of Hispanic, then show me the evidence,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio contends that the 22-page complaint the Department of Justice released Dec. 15 against his office 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.
Nor was Arpaio concerned that the DOJ might take him and his sheriff’s department to federal court.
“If the Justice Department wants to take me to court, I’m ready,” Arpaio said.
Arpaio was responding to a statement emailed today to WND in which the DOJ threatened to go to court immediately rather than show Arpaio’s office and the U.S. public the evidence it claims to have.
“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.
The statement implied the DOJ already has rejected an offer of cooperation made yesterday by attorneys representing MCSO in a cover letter to the MCSO 38-page response to the DOJ complaint.
In the cover letter, Arpaio attorney Joseph J. Popolizio 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.
Nothing more than a political attack?
Arpaio also took exception to the DOJ assertion that the federal investigation against his office began under the Bush administration.
“There may have been complaints filed with the Justice Department under the Bush administration,” Arpaio conceded, “but we were first notified in March 2009 – in the Obama administration’s first 100 days – that the Department of Justice had begun a formal investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”
Arpaio pointed out that after three years of cooperating with the Justice Department investigation, the his office was given only one-hour’s advance notice that the report was going to be released.
On the morning of Dec. 15, the Justice Department called officials of the Sheriff’s office to a 9 a.m. meeting, refusing to disclose in advance the purpose of the meeting.
One hour later, at 10 a.m. local time, Perez held a press conference in Phoenix, making the Arpaio report public.
DOJ officials turned away MCSO representatives from attending the press conference, claiming the room was too full to permit additional attendees.
Arpaio questioned the timing of the press conference, noting that Dec. 15 was one day after the first anniversary of the gun battle near the Arizona border in which Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was gunned down by illegal immigrants armed with weapons supplied by the Justice Department in the now controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation that has brought Holder under considerable political pressure to resign.
Clearly, winning the Latino vote is a key presidential election strategy for the Democratic Party in 2012.
On Sept. 28, Obama gave a White House interview to three Latino journalists in which he singled out Arpaio by name and declared Maricopa County should not be taken as the “model” for U.S. immigration laws.
Some observers also note the timing. The Obama administration chose to make public allegations resulting from a three-year DOJ investigation after Arpaio authorized a MCSO Cold Case Posse to investigate Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.
Moreover, the DOJ in delivering the Dec. 15 complaint indicated Arapio’s office would have only two months to comply – timing coincident with the scheduled February 2012 release of the Cold Case Posse’s investigation.
Arpaio reminded WND that he is a sheriff, elected by the voters of Maricopa County. As such, he is the chief law enforcement officer in the county, not an appointed law enforcement officer responsible to the mayor, a state attorney general or even to the attorney general of the United States.
“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.”
Arpaio also told WND that he intends to run for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff in 2012, despite efforts organized in Phoenix by activist-attorney Randy Parraz to pressure the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors into demanding Arpaio’s resignation.
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We pray that Sheriff Arpaio keeps his head up and stands strong through this time of being attacked by liberals. Sheriff Joe is America's top cop. A true leader in the fight to secure the borders. Obama has most likely ordered the DOJ to attack Sheriff Joe because of the investigation on his birth certificate by the posse.
Stay strong Joe! We love and support you!