PHOENIX - Federal authorities trying to settle civil rights allegations against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Tuesday that the sheriff's office has negotiated in bad faith and risks ending settlement talks.
The U.S. Justice Department told a lawyer for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a letter Tuesday that the sheriff's precondition of not having a court-appointed monitor to help enforce an agreement to settle the civil rights allegations would result in the cancellation of negotiations.
The Justice Department said Arpaio's lawyer sprung this precondition on federal authorities Tuesday, despite having previously agreed to a court monitor. The sheriff's office said it made no such agreement.
"We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," wrote Roy Austin Jr., a deputy assistant attorney general, questioning whether the sheriff's office was ever interested in settling the matter. "Your tactics have required DOJ to squander valuable time and resources."
Negotiations were to resume Wednesday in Phoenix after lawyers on both sides had met at least once in February. The Justice Department said a cancellation of Wednesday's settlement would mark the second time negotiations were called off.
The Justice Department said Arpaio's refusal to negotiate in good faith requires the federal agency to prepare for a lawsuit.
Arpaio said in a written statement that agreeing to a court monitor would mean that every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority as the elected sheriff.
"I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected sheriff, and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government," Arpaio said, accusing the Obama administration of trying to "strong arm" him.
In: Regional News, Other News, Politics
Tags: Obama, Administration, Strong, Arming, Arizona, Sheriff, Joe, Arpaio, Obama, Holder, Traitors,
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States (load item map)
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