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Sheriff's office pledges continued cooperation with DOJ, but wants proof of findings
In a 29-page letter, the sheriff's office asked for the facts and information regarding specific allegations in the Department of Justice report.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office met the Jan. 4 deadline to respond to a Department of Justice report alleging a wide range of civil rights violations by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's department.
“What we want for the Department of Justice to do is play ball,” Arpaio said in a statement. “In other words, provide whatever proof they may have to back their findings - proof which, by the way, they have refused to give to us or to the media. And if they cannot prove their findings, which I suspect to be the case, then stop the political posturing."
A statement from the sheriff's office claims it "will not cower at [the] threat of litigation" from the DOJ.
The DOJ responded with a statement that alleged the MCSO's request for information was a stalling tactic, and that similar delays had previously resulted in constitutional violations.
"MCSO purports not to understand the underlying basis for the findings when MCSO’s own actions and documents form the basis of these findings," read the statement, which was issued by Xochitl Hinojosa of the DOJ's Office of Public Affairs.
KJZZ's Paul Atkinson reports.
The letter blasts the Justice Department for the way it notified the law enforcement agency saying it was ‘blindsided’ by its findings. The Department of Justice briefed the Sheriff’s Office December 15th then held a press conference alleging racial profiling by deputies, discrimination against limited English Latino inmates and retaliation against critics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Chief Deputy Jack MacIntyre says the letter asks for detailed information to substantiate the allegations of widespread discriminatory practices.
JACK MacINTYRE “We can not look at this and say let’s address a systemwide problem when you don’t even show us that it exists and you give us absolutely no basis to come back to you and say you know, some of the things you are relying on are absolutely made up and unsubstantiated.”
In a written statement, the Justice Department says the Sheriff’s Office claims “not to understand the underlying basis for the findings when MCSO’s own actions and documents form the basis of these findings. If MCSO wants to debate the facts instead of fixing the problems stated in our findings, we will do so by way of formal litigation.”
Updated: Jan. 4, 2010 5:04 p.m.