Back-and-forth between DOJ, MCSO could lead to court

April 09, 2012

The war of words between the Department of Justice and Maricopa County officials continues. DOJ has been conducting a civil rights investigation into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department. Last week the County Attorney’s office sent a letter requesting information about the federal investigation into the sheriff’s office. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports on the latest exchange.

AL MACIAS: On Monday the Department of Justice responded, saying it’s confused by County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s letter. DOJ says Montgomery had said earlier his office was not representing the sheriff in this matter, and now is asking for information about the case. In fact, the sheriff has hired outside counsel who has been in discussions with the Department of Justice. The county attorney has asked the feds for details about the civil rights investigation. DOJ says it is concerned that Montgomery’s office may have a conflict since it could represent the county in certain civil cases and at the same serve as the prosecutor in certain criminal cases. Last week Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he would not agree to court appointed monitor of his department. The feds said without that, there would be no settlement and they would take the sheriff to court. A DOJ spokesperson says the department has prevailed in all 19 previous investigations of police agencies involving civil rights violations.

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