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In its developing battle with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio over alleged violations of the civil rights of Hispanics, the Justice Department appears to have blinked, backing away from an earlier threat to take the Arizona lawman to federal court immediately.
Now, the DOJ suddenly wants to talk.
Still, the Civil Rights Division under the direction of Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez has made it clear that the DOJ has no intent of proving its charges, as Arpaio has demanded.
In an email sent to WND on Jan. 5, the DOJ stated, “If MCSO wants to debate the facts instead of fixing the problems stated in our findings, we will do so by way of litigation.”
Yet, in a six-page letter delivered to Arpaio’s office Wednesday, Perez appeared to have softened his position by offering to talk, rather than going to court immediately.
“We stand ready to meet, answer questions and discuss a resolution with you and your client immediately.” Perez wrote to the sheriff’s office’s outside counsel, Joseph J. Popolizio.
In the proposed meetings, nevertheless, Perez made it clear the DOJ has no intent of showing or debating any of its alleged evidence.
“The nature and extent of the document request suggests that your real goal is not ‘transparency’ and ‘cooperation,’ but rather further delay,” Perez wrote.
Arpaio was not amused.
“I’ll be happy to meet with DOJ anytime,” Arpaio told WND. “But I believe we have a right to see the evidence DOJ says they have against us and to defend ourselves against the charges.”
Arpaio bristled that Perez presumed the charges were valid, simply because the DOJ investigated his office.
“What about our right to see the evidence and confront our accusers?” Arpaio asked.
As WND reported, some Arpaio supporters point to evidence that the Obama DOJ has launched a political campaign against the sheriff in retaliation for his decision to constitute a Cold Case Posse to investigate Obama eligibility for the Arizona ballot this fall.
Before assuming his current position with the DOJ, Perez was a board director for Casa de Maryland, a Hispanic advocacy group affiliated with the radical national organization La Raza.
In 2007, as Maryland’s labor secretary, Perez joined students to urge the Maryland legislature to approve a bill granting in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, according to the Washington Post.
La Raza even today holds the extreme view that the United States should, as a minimum, concede back to Hispanic rule major portions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
WND has also reported that the DOJ appears to be coordinating its actions with Randy Parraz, a California-born activist/attorney who has relocated in Arizona with the announced goal of masterminding a Saul Alinsky series of 1960-styled political protests designed to force the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to ask for Arpaio’s resignation.
“I have no intention of resigning,” Arpaio affirmed to WND.
Arpaio has announced his attention to seek a sixth term as Maricopa County sheriff in the upcoming November elections.
Perez asserted in his Wednesday letter that Arpaio’s office “has ample information in its possession regarding the allegations of retaliatory behavior, as well as the additional areas of serious concern that were identified in our report.”
Perez argues the DOJ provided “specific examples of retaliatory actions in our report.”
“In addition, you are undoubtedly in possession of reports addressing allegations of retaliatory or otherwise unlawful actions by MCSO officials,” he said.
In response, Arpaio has repeatedly maintained that at best the DOJ has anecdotal evidence of isolated incidents, not scientifically conducted field studies that prove conclusively with statistical evidence that the MCSO engaged in a systematic pattern of intentional racial discrimination aimed at violating the civil rights of Hispanics.
“If DOJ has the proof, what’s wrong with us seeing it?” Arpaio continues to ask.
Moreover, in his letter Wednesday, Perez repeated the charge that the DOJ investigation began in 2008, under the administration of President George W. Bush.
“Nobody informed us of any investigation in 2008,” Arpaio told WND. “The first we heard of a DOJ investigation was 100 days into the Obama administration, when DOJ notified us in writing for the first time that the MCSO was under investigation.”
Perez further argued that Arpaio and the MCSO refused to cooperate.
“MCSO spent roughly two years stonewalling the investigation and refusing to cooperate,” Perez wrote.
Again, Arpaio objected, noting that the MCSO turned over thousands of documents to the DOJ at the agency’s request and spent hundreds of hours in meetings with DOJ officials from Washington.
“We’re still cooperating,” Arpaio insisted. “If DOJ wants to meet to discuss their charges within the next 60 days, I’m happy to meet with them.”
Even so, it’s not clear what a meeting will accomplish.
Perez made it clear the DOJ has no intention of reconsidering its finding that Arpaio and the MCSO are guilty.
“MCSO has ample notice of the nature and extent of the problems,” Perez insisted in his letter. “It is time to fix the problems, rather than debate the existence of problems.”