The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the controversial Arizona law enforcement official failed to cooperate with an investigation into allegations that his department singles out Hispanics.
The DOJ has pressured the Maricopa County sheriff since March 2009 to hand over documents as part of a probe into alleged unconstitutional searches and seizures, discrimination and English-only rules in his jails. Arpaio had until Aug. 17 to turn all over all records requested by the DOJ.
“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented,” Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities.”
Robert Driscoll, the sheriff’s lawyer, declined immediate comment to the Associated Press. But Arpaio’s department previously said they were cooperating. But the sheriff’s office wouldn’t submit records about alleged unconstitutional searches to the DOJ because they said investigators weren’t clear about the scope of their probe.