US Justice Deparment Sues Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County

May 10, 2012

The U-S Justice Department today filed a federal lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his office and the county. The suit accuses Arpaio and the sheriff’s office of discriminatory and unconstitutional law enforcement practices. From Phoenix, Mark Brodie reports.


DOJ says this is only the second time in its 18 years of civil police reform work that it’s had to file a contested lawsuit. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Tom Perez says all of the allegations in the complaint result from a culture of disregard for basic human rights within the agency…and he says that starts at the top.


"At its core, this is an abuse of power case, involving a sheriff and a sheriff’s office that disregarded the Constitution, ignored sound police practices, compromised public safety and did not hesitate to retaliate against perceived critics," Perez told reporters.


Perez says he still hopes to reach a settlement with Arpaio’s office. Any agreement, though, would require Arpaio to allow an independent monitor in his office…he has so far refused to do that. Arpaio has scheduled an afternoon news conference to respond to the lawsuit.