When the Department of Justice (DOJ) began investigating Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) following racial-profiling allegations, Arpaio said “bring it on.” Now, four months later, he has announced that he will no longer cooperate with DOJ officials. Instead, Arpaio, with the help of attorney Robert Driscoll, has filed a tit-for-tat request with the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the DOJ’s investigation of him.
Arpaio thinks the DOJ’s actions are politically-motivated and thus refuses to open up his doors so that the DOJ can “come in and find something.” At a press conference hosted yesterday, Arpaio complained that the DOJ is being a bully, saying “Don’t pick on me to show you’re doing something. If you’re going to do it, pick on someone that’s guilty — there’s a big difference here.” Arpaio’s lawyer also put his foot down and said, “there will be no wholesale cooperation until they can articulate what, specifically, he did wrong.” Driscoll explains:
“This case puts the constitutionality of the 287g program squarely into question and is therefore incumbent upon the federal government to defend its own statutes. Instead, the federal government is choosing to go after the Sheriff’s Office and the deputies who enforce their statute to the letter.”
However, the DOJ isn’t “going after” Arpaio for participating in the 287g program which gives local law enforcement officials the power to enforce federal immigration laws. They’re concerned about the way in which his office is implementing it. Sheriff Arpaio has had 2,700 law suits filed against him between 2004 and 2007 — 50 times the number of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston combined. The majority of inmates in his jails are, not surprisingly, Latino males. Also, you’d think being a hot-shot Washington lawyer, Driscoll might realize that the DOJ is in the process of conducting the investigation precisely to find out what, if anything, Arpaio has “done wrong.” Without Arpaio’s cooperation, it’s conveniently unlikely that they’ll come to a conclusion any time soon.
An Arizona local news station also brought Arpaio’s blatant hypocrisy to light. Not only did the Sheriff tell the DOJ, “be my guest” when the investigation began, he also attacked the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for not cooperating with his own investigation of them. Watch it:
Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox stated that Arpaio’s investigation of her was also politically-motivated, saying he was trying to intimidate her with a “vendetta” over her criticism of the way he enforces immigration.