The Maricopa County Attorney defended Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Wednesday, telling the U.S. Justice Department to "put up or shut up" by revealing the evidence federal investigators have collected in a probe into Arpaio's alleged discriminatory practices.
As the Arizona Republic reported, County Attorney Bill Montgomery made a strong statement against the federal probe, which is looking into accusations that the Sheriff's Office has engaged in widespread discriminatory policing policies against Latino residents of the Arizona county. The Justice Department has declined to turn over documentation, stating that the investigation is ongoing.
"I want to make it absolutely clear," Montgomery said Wednesday. "If the Department of Justice actually has information that supports their assertion that there continue to this day systemic concerns of discriminatory policing or racial profiling, I demand-- I demand as the chief prosecutor of Maricopa County... to be given that information immediately."
He continued, "This posturing, this playing hide the ball in the context of civil litigation, is disgusting, particularly when it involves criminal prosecutions."
On Tuesday, the Justice Department said that the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" in America was negotiating in bad faith by refusing a court-appointed monitor, thus jeopardizing Arpaio's chances of reaching a settlement with the federal government. Arpaio is now facing a potential federal lawsuit.
In response, Arpaio accused the Obama administration of trying to "strong arm" him.
"I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected sheriff, and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government," he said in a statement.
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