Arpaio dismisses DOJ report, vows to 'continue enforcing law'

December 15, 2011

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he will continue to enforce illegal immigration laws, despite a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The federal agency says the sheriff’s office engaged in racial profiling and retaliated against its critics.  From Phoenix, KJZZ's Mark Brodie reports.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe ArpaioMaricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Thursday's press conference. (Photo by Mark Brodie/KJZZ)

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MARK BRODIE: The three-year-old civil rights investigation by the Justice Department also found the sheriff’s office discriminated against non-English speakers in county jails.  Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, says the problems are widespread.

THOMAS PEREZ: We are not talking about isolated incidents. We found discriminatory policing that was deeply rooted in the culture of the department. A culture that breeds a systemic disregard for basic Constitutional protections.

MARK BRODIE: But sheriff’s department officials say the report was nothing more than political pandering, containing false allegations.  And, Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the feds' action will encourage more illegal immigration.

JOE ARPAIO: This is a sad day for America as a whole. Today, the federal government moved to do everything it can to put this agency out of the illegal immigration enforcement business.

MARK BRODIE: The Justice Department has given the sheriff’s office until January 4th to decide whether or not it will work with the federal agency to come up with a plan to resolve the issues found in the report. Arpaio says he plans to do that.

Listen to this report.

Listen to the entire press conference.

Updated: 12/16/2011 1:51 p.m.

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