Will Joe Arpaio Cooperate With the Feds Or Lead Taxpayers Into Another Pricey Lawsuit?
Happy January 4! Today's the day we'll find out whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will cooperate with the federal government in correcting some of the problems outlined in the Department of Justice's report on the MCSO's alleged racial profiling practices -- or lead taxpayers head-first into another pricey lawsuit.
As of May, defending the MCSO in legal cases has cost Maricopa County taxpayers more than $50 million since America's priciest sheriff took office in 1993, according to the County Risk Management Department -- and let's not forget about the roughly $100 million he "misspent" over the last eight years..
Last month, the DOJ accused Arpaio of overseeing a law enforcement organization that's guilty of the worst racial-profiling practices in U.S. history.
The feds gave Arpaio until today to decide whether he'll cooperate with them in fixing the problems. If he declines, the DOJ has threatened to take him to court.
Despite his costly, litigious history, Arpaio says he hopes he'll be able to cooperate with the DOJ.
"We're gonna cooperate -- do the best we can," the sheriff said last month. "If [the DOJ's] not happy, I guess they can carry out their threat and go to federal court. And I'll be glad to see them in court -- that's when you can get all the facts out."
It remains unclear what the sheriff means by "cooperate" -- the Arizona Republic quotes MCSO Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre as saying the MCSO has drafted a letter to the DOJ pledging cooperation.
However, he also says the following:
"You can't take a handful of anecdotes and say that's a systemic problem. In the letter we're going to tell them we're going to cooperate. But cooperation is a two-way street."
We want to know what you think, though: will Arpaio actually cooperate with the feds, or is Maricopa County headed into yet another lawsuit?
Cast your vote below.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.