Bill Montgomery

Is it Really "Reckless" for Justice Department to Say MCSO Is Negatively Impacting County Residents?

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery stepped up for Sheriff Joe Arpaio yesterday, saying the Justice Department was "reckless" to assert county residents are being negatively affected by the sheriff's office unless Montgomery gets the evidence.

Montgomery sent a second request to the Justice Department for more information, and said it was "inexcusable" not to honor his first request, from December.

His response comes after deputy assistant Attorney General Roy Austin wrote a letter explaining that the negotiations over the racial-profiling issues were on hold, and the DOJ's gearing up for a lawsuit.

"We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," Austin wrote on April 3. "Your tactics have required DOJ to squander valuable time and resources. The violations of the Constitution and federal law identified in our December 15 letter have not been meaningfully addressed and continue to negatively impact the lives of all Maricopa County residents."

Austin added that the DOJ hasn't been handing over this information for a reason, saying it's given out "more than sufficient information" about its investigative findings, would delay a settlement, and could potentially put witnesses at risk.

Austin also noted the DOJ has "additional information" supporting its concerns about the MCSO bungling sex-crime investigations.

Montgomery wasn't pleased to be a recipient of that letter, and still insists he wants the evidence of discriminatory policing and racial profiling, as well as evidence about the bungled sex crimes.

"Absent such information, it is reckless for you to assert that there is a 'negative[] impact [to] the lives of all Maricopa County residents,'" Montgomery responded. "If your concern truly is for my constituents, then the silence in the face of my legitimate December 16, 2011 request is inexcusable."

This morning's question: Is it really "reckless" for the Justice Department to say the alleged violations by the Arpaio-led MCSO is having a negative impact on county residents?

Cast your vote below:

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley