The FBI has interviewed Arizona public officials and employees about whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix has abused his authority, the Arizona Republic reports. Arpaio said he was not aware of an FBI inquiry. Five public officials involved in ongoing disputes with the Sheriff’s Office confirmed federal agents asked them questions that seem to focus on one theme: possible misuse of power by Arpaio and other sheriff’s representatives.
One source said, “They’re looking into what appeared to be mounting allegations of harassment by the Sheriff’s Office.” Said Arpaio: “We are conducting investigations, and I’m not going to be intimidated by anyone making complaints to the FBI. We will continue to do our job.” The inquiry appears to be separate from a U.S. Department of Justice investigation announced in March involving allegations of civil-rights abuses by Arpaio’s deputies in their enforcement of federal immigration laws.