Reuters.com reports that
The Obama administration on Tuesday said it was preparing to sue Arizona county sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department for violating civil rights laws by improperly targeting Latinos in a bid to crack down on illegal immigrants.
The sheriff’s high-profile crackdown on illegal immigrants has helped thrust the issue onto the national political stage with some states passing tough new laws aimed at pushing out those in the country illegally.
The administration’s Justice Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have been in settlement talks for months over allegations that officers regularly made unlawful stops and arrests of Latinos, used excessive force against them and failed to adequately protect the Hispanic community.
Those negotiations have broken down because of a fight over the Justice Department’s demand that an independent monitor be appointed by a federal court to oversee compliance with the settlement, which has now reached 128 pages in draft form, according to the Obama administration.
“We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith,” Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a letter to the lawyer for Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
Austin said in the letter that Arpaio’s team demanded that a meeting slated for Wednesday include for the first time negotiations over the monitor and previously had demanded that the Justice Department provide more details about its findings.
“MCSO’s refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil (court) action,” Austin said. He added that the Justice Department has recently discovered more information about the “failure to reasonably investigate sex crimes” by Arpaio’s office.
The Justice Department in a December report outlined numerous alleged civil rights violations, including that Latino drivers were four to nine times more likely to be stopped than non-Latinos by Arpaio’s force.
The sheriff has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing and lashed out at the Obama administration for targeting his department and failing to deal with the problem of illegal immigration with some 11.5 million believed to be in the United States.
In a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, Arpaio said the appointment of a monitor would force him to abdicate responsibility for his police force, including decisions about policies, operations, jail programs and enforcement.
“To the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say: This will not happen, not on my watch!” Arpaio said in the statement.
Arpaio’s force has been under investigation by federal authorities since 2008 during the Bush administration. Obama’s Justice Department spent months fighting for access to documents and to some of his deputies. Arpaio was interviewed twice during the probe.
Where was the concern of the Obama Administration when a good, hard-working American was gunned down by an illegal in Arizona. Remember this story?
Police say Robert Krentz, whose family has been ranching in southern Arizona since 1907, was gunned down early Saturday morning, March 27th, 2010, by an illegal immigrant while out on his ATV tending to fences and water lines on the family’s 34,000-acre cattle ranch.
Reached by phone early Tuesday at his family’s ranch, Andy Krentz, Krentz’s oldest son, said his father was a churchgoing man who routinely went out of his way to help those in need.
“My father was a very good family man,” Krentz told FoxNews.com. “He supported his kids, supported his family. He went out of his way to help anybody we could without regarding to who they were. It didn’t matter who they were.”
Sue Krentz, Krentz’s wife, said she was “pretty overwhelmed” by her husband’s death, which coincided with her parents’ deteriorating health.
“This is icing on the cake,” Krentz said.
Yes, it was. The public outcry was deafening.
Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Friday, April 23rd, 2010, a bill supporters said would take handcuffs off police in dealing with illegal immigration in Arizona, the nation’s busiest gateway for human and drug smuggling from Mexico.With hundreds of protesters outside the state Capitol shouting that the bill would lead to civil rights abuses, Brewer said critics were “overreacting” and that she wouldn’t tolerate racial profiling.
“We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act,” Brewer said after signing the law. “But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation.”
Do you realize that there are parts of Arizona where Americans are not allowed to travel because of the danger of violence from Mexican Drug Lords?
Roughly 3,500 acres of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge — about 3 percent of the 118,000-acre park — have been closed since Oct. 6, 2006, when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials acknowledged a marked increase in violence along a tract of land that extends north from the border for roughly three-quarters of a mile. Federal officials say they have no plans to reopen the area.
Elsewhere, at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which shares a 32-mile stretch of the border with Mexico, visitors are warned on a federally-run website that some areas are not accessible by anyone.
“Due to our proximity to the International Boundary with Mexico, some areas near the border are closed for construction and visitor safety concerns,” the website reads.
On another page titled “Border Concerns,” the website warns that visitors should be aware that “drug smuggling routes” pass through the park.
“If you see any activity which looks illegal, suspicious, or out of place, please do not intervene,” the website reads. “Note your location. Call 911 or report it to a ranger as quickly as possible. Each year hundreds of people travel north through the park seeking to enter the United States.”
Visitors are also warned to be mindful of illegal immigrants within Ironwood Forest National Monument, a 129,000-acre federal parkland in the Sonoran Desert.
Excuse me, Mr. President and Mr. Attorney General…Before you attempt to embarrass and verbally crucify a fine public servant like Sheriff Joe, why don’t you take care of those in Arizona who are in violation of our country’s laws and endangering the lives of American citizens, first?
Your priorities seem to be just a wee bit out of order.
Mr. Robert Krentz remains unavailable for comment.