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Feds willing to negotiate ways to reform MCSO

In this file photo from Dec. 5, 2011, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio discusses the latest in the document release on his office's handling of many sexual assault cases over the years in El Mirage, Ariz., during a news conference in Phoenix. Arpaio faces a Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 deadline for telling the U.S. Justice Department whether he will cooperate in overhauling his agency in response a federal civil rights report that accuses the sheriff's office of civil rights violations. In mid-December, Arpaio was given 60 days by the Justice Department to reach an agreement to fix the alleged violations. The Justice Department says it will file a lawsuit against Arpaio if it isn't satisfied with his response. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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