Negotiations between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office seem to be falling apart, as Sheriff Joe Arpaio says he will not allow the DOJ to “strong arm” him.
Tuesday, Arpaio rejected the DOJ’s demand that his office’s operations be overseen by an independent agency, which the DOJ said was a crucial element required to begin negotiations.
In a statement, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” said, “I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected Sheriff and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government. And so 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!’”
A letter from Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General Roy Austin however, says Arpaio had previously agreed to the monitor, saying, It was disappointing, to say the least, for you to contact us 24 hours before our negotiations were scheduled to continue and raise, for the first time, a precondition that you understood would result in the cancellation of negotiations—and, by extension, the initiation of a civil lawsuit—and calls into question whether you were ever interested in settling this matter.”
If negotiations completely break down between Arpaio and the DOJ, they will face off in federal court, costing each side a substantial amount of money.