DOJ, Arpaio Settle Dispute Over Records Access

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PHOENIX—The Justice Department (DOJ) announced Friday that it has entered in to a court-enforceable agreement with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio resolving a longstanding dispute over access to information related to the department’s Title VI investigation of the office. The settlement comes after sheriffs allowed Justice officials to conduct more than 220 interviews and review hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. Prior to the litigation, the sheriff's department refused to cooperate in full with the investigation.

On Sept. 2, 2010, the DOJ filed a lawsuit after exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access to sheriff's office’s documents and facilities, as part of the DOJ’s investigation of alleged discrimination in Maricopa County's police practices and jail operations. id not receive full compliance until the lawsuit was filed.

The sheriff's office has now cooperated with the investigation by permitting the DOJ to interview  Arpaio, command staff, deputies, detention officers and first line supervisors, as well as jail inmates. Arpaio's staff has also allowed tours of the facilities and has responded to each of the department’s original document requests. Under the terms of the agreement, Arpai's office will continue to provide the DOJ with access to sources of information that the department determines are pertinent to its Title VI investigation.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs on the ground of race, color or national origin. Recipients of federal funds, such as the Maricopa County sheriff, are obligated to provide the department with access to information and facilities pertinent to an investigation under Title VI.