Justice Department faces off in court against Joe Arpaio

Joe Arpaio is not facing his own criminal charges. CC by Jerry Nadler/Flickr

Controversy has been brewing in Arizona for quite some time. The issue over SB1070, which allows officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect might be illegal, is still unsettled, as the Obama administration has challenged the constitutional grounds of the law. The feud between the Grand Canyon State and the federal government has intensified, as the Justice Department is suing the controversial Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. An investigation was being conducted on civil rights abuse. The Justice Department says Joe Arpaio didn’t cooperate in this.

Joe Arpaio discriminating

The investigation began into tactics Sheriff Joe Arpaio supposedly used. Apparently he wanted to “sweep” illegal immigrants by only targeting Hispanics, whether or not they were legal. The Los Angeles Times reports that Hispanic areas were targeted by the Maricopa County Sheriff deputies that stopped everyone for anything. When there with the people, deputies had one job to complete. They were expected to check immigration status. Doing this was expected of everyone. It was even expected before the Arizona immigration law was in place. The Justice Department requested documentation on these sweeps from Sheriff Arpaio, which he was loathe to comply with. Federal investigators weren’t given the material requested. There weren’t even allowed into the building.

No stranger to lawsuits

The Maricopa Sheriff has had lawsuits before. His jail is called Tent City and is made up of tents in the desert and high fences, and many have sued him for family dying in this jail. There is also an ongoing investigation into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office including Sheriff Arpaio by the grand jury. This is happening, reports ABC, because of corruption. The Office got the request for materials and paperwork more than a year ago. The request came from the Justice Department., and a federal judge found the Sheriff’s Office had destroyed the documents requested.

Additional reading

ABC News

LA Times