Federal officials say they’re willing to negotiate and discuss ways to reform the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, which has been accused of a wide range of civil rights violations.
But U.S. Justice Department officials also disagree that they have to provide facts to back up their allegations that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office racially profiles Latinos, bases immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishes Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish.
Thomas Perez heads the Justice Department’s civil rights division. He wrote a six-page letter Tuesday to one of the lawyers representing the sheriff’s office.
Arpaio’s office has previously said that it doesn’t discriminate against Latinos and that Justice Department didn’t provide facts to support its allegation that MCSO has a culture of disregard for basic constitutional rights.