Sheriff Joe Fires Back at Feds' Allegations

Discrimination case a 'witch hunt': lawyer
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2011 7:14 AM CST
Sheriff Joe Arpaio Fires Back at Justice Department Civil Rights Claims
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Arizona's embattled Sheriff Joe Arpaio is hitting back at Justice Department allegations that his office shows "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias" against Hispanics. "Don't come to use me as a whipping boy for a national, international problem," he told reporters, saying he has "an idea of the politics involved in law enforcement," CNN reports. "I don't want to say it's all politics, but everyone I'm talking about happens to be Democrats," he said. His lawyer called the case a "witch hunt."

"I have compassion. I've worked in Mexico City working with the president," Arpaio said. "But I will tell you one thing: enforcing the law overrides my compassion." Meanwhile, it's not just the Justice Department that's got a problem with Arpaio: Homeland Security is cutting some ties with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Los Angeles Times reports. The department is ending an agreement that allowed Arpaio's office to question inmates over their immigration status; DHS is also "restricting" the office's access to the Secure Communities program that allows the sharing of fingerprints among local, state, and federal officials, said Janet Napolitano. (More Joe Arpaio stories.)

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