Posted by | August 18, 2010 10:15 | Filed under: Top Stories

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not cooperating with a federal investigation into whether he discriminates against Latino residents, and now the Department of Justice may sue him.

Justice Department officials in Washington have issued a rare threat to sue Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio if he does not cooperate with their investigation of whether he discriminates against Hispanics. The civil rights inquiry is one of two that target the man who calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” A federal grand jury in Phoenix is examining whether Arpaio has used his power to investigate and intimidate political opponents and whether his office misappropriated government money, sources said.

Arpaio, known for putting inmates in pink underwear, is represented by two former Bush Justice Department officials who claim he is being unfairly targeted, but local human rights groups see it differently.

The civil rights division’s investigation began in March 2009 and focuses on whether Arpaio’s department engaged in “discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures,” along with allegations that his jail discriminated against Hispanic inmates, according to letters the division sent to Arpaio. A complaint to the Justice Department said that even bilingual jail guards are required to speak to inmates only in English and that the rule could endanger prisoners’ medical care. The jail was also accused of forcing Hispanic visitors to fill out a “citizenship check” form, the letters said.

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By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.