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Group gathers signatures in support of Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio addresses a group of Tea Party Patriots as the keynote speaker during opening ceremonies of the tea party's convention Friday, Feb. 25, 2011, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Paul Connors)

A group says it has collected nearly 100,000 online petitions signatures from across the country to demand that federal authorities prove their allegations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office has committed a wide range of civil rights violations.

The U.S. Justice Department has accused Arpaio’s office of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish.

The sheriff has denied the allegations and called the investigation a politically motivated attack by the Obama administration.

The petition also says those who signed the document support the investigation by Arpaio’s volunteer posse of President Barak Obama’s birth certificate.

The petition was organized by the conservative Grassfire Nation group.

The Department of Justice declined to comment on the petition.

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