The U.S. Department of Justice will join the negotiations with Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the American Civil Liberties Union in an effort to resolve the racial profiling detailed in a federal judge's order last month, the Arizona Republic repors. The Justice Department's participation might mean the federal government's pending civil-rights lawsuit against Arpaio's agency will be resolved without going to trial.
The Justice Department sued the Sheriff's Office last year accusing the agency of widespread racial profiling in jail and patrol operations. The lawsuit was filed before the longstanding discrimination claims residents filed against the Sheriff's Office went to trial.U.S. District Judge Murray Snow concluded that the Sheriff's Office targeted Latino residents as part of the agency's immigration-enforcement efforts. Snow made it clear Friday he intends to appoint a monitor to oversee the changes in the Sheriff's Office. “It does not seem to be that it's a question of whether or not an independent monitor will be appointed,” Snow said. “The question is the scope of that (monitor's) authority as it pertains to underlying issues.”