| Arpaio |

Joe Arpaio Challenges DOJ to Publicly Say He Doesn't Racially Profile -- Even Though Investigation's Still Wide Open

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today challenged the Department of Justice "be fair" and publicly say his office doesn't practice racial profiling.

"As a matter of fairness, the DOJ should go public and say we don't racially profile," the sheriff grumbled at a press conference this afternoon, "but I won't hold my breath."

That's probably a good idea -- the DOJ hasn't even come to any conclusion about whether the MCSO practices racial profiling, despite the dismissal of a federal lawsuit against the sheriff earlier this week.

Judge Murray Snow Monday dismissed a DOJ lawsuit against Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office over Arpaio's refusal to cooperate in its investigation into allegations that the MCSO practices racial profiling. The lawsuit may be off, but the investigation is wide open.

Arpaio claims the MCSO's "reluctance" to cooperate with the DOJ stems from a violation of trust after he discovered "Homeland Security and Department of Justice personnel were inappropriately sharing information gleaned in separate private meetings with Sheriff's Office officials."

The MCSO claims it was never uncooperative with the investigation and says it "justifiably wanted the federal government to clearly state what it was here to investigate before [Arpaio] provided more information to federal officials."

Arpaio's attorney, Bill Jones, says the MCSO has now provided the DOJ with 15,000 pages of documents and allowed investigators to interview 230 people -- including jail inmates -- about the MCSO's alleged racial profiling practices.

Again, the lawsuit may be done-zo, but the investigation is not.

So far, Jones says, the DOJ hasn't indicated whether it's uncovered any wrongdoing by Arpaio and his boys in beige -- something he says it would have to do if any violations were discovered. He did stress the fact that there were a lot of documents to look over.

Stay tuned...

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