The lead attorney in the U.S. Justice Department’s efforts to resolve a civil-rights complaint with Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio has cut off verbal communication with Arpaio’s attorney, saying the entire affair is best left for the courts to decide, reports the Arizona Republic. A Justice Department report in December accused the Sheriff’s Office of rampant discrimination against Latinos in its police and jail operations, and asked the office to negotiate a solution to the problems or face legal action.
The most recent exchange of letters between Arpaio’s lawyers and federal civil-rights prosecutors contained dueling and now-familiar accusations about failures to negotiate an agreement in good faith. “It is clear that DOJ’s concerted effort to attain voluntary compliance by your client has failed,” Deputy U.S. Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin wrote to Arpaio attorney Joe Popolizio. “It is also clear that we should not discuss anything else by telephone because you will not accurately portray those conversations,” Austin said.