Arpaio says his office will cooperate with DOJ

December 21, 2011

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he wants to avoid a court battle with the Department of Justice. Last week the DOJ said that it had found a pattern of civil rights abuses against Latinos in Maricopa County. The sheriff faces a January 4 deadline to cooperate with the federal investigators. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports.

Maricopa County Sheriff's DeputiesA pile of Department of Homeland Security badges lay on a table after deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office turned them in Wednesday. (Photo by Al Macias/KJZZ)

AL MACIAS: The report says the sheriffs department engaged in racial profiling and was more likely to stop Latino drivers for alleged traffic violations. Arpaio says he’s willing to cooperate with the feds but that doesn’t mean he agrees with the findings.

JOE ARPAIO: So we’ll probably talk to them and we’ll see what they have to say and what my lawyers have to say and see if we agree with what they want. If we don’t or they don’t like it I presume we’ll go to court.

AL MACIAS: As a result of the Justice Department findings, the Department of Homeland Security stripped jail officers of their federal powers to check inmates' immigration status. On Wednesday afternoon, 92 deputies turned in their Homeland Security Badges. Homeland Security has promised 50 agents to conduct immigration checks, but Arpaio says he doesn’t know when those agents will show up.

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