America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" is finally cooperating with the federal government in its investigation into discrimination practices within his office -- but only thanks to months of litigation.
The United States Department of Justice announced this afternoon that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has entered a "court-enforceable" agreement with the DOJ "resolving a longstanding dispute over access to information related to the department's Title VI investigation of the sheriff's office."
In September, the DOJ filed a lawsuit against Arpaio for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation, only after after "exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access to MCSO's documents and facilities."
In the meantime, Arpaio's apparently been playing nice and has allowed the DOJ to cunduct 220 interviews -- including interviews with Arpaio -- and review hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.
Prior to litigation over whether MCSO had to give the feds access, Arpaio refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Others Arpaio's allowed to be interviewed include his command staff, deputies, detention officers, and first line supervisors, as well as jail inmates. Arpaio's also permitted tours of his jail facilities, the DOJ says.
"After numerous requests for access to information, the department was forced to resort to litigation to compel the sheriff's office to provide us with full access to facilities, staff and documents, as required by federal law," Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. "We are pleased that since the filing of our lawsuit, the sheriff's office has reversed course and provided the department with information we have been seeking."
See a PDF of the agreement below.US v MCSO Agreement
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