Witch Hunt in Arizona?

AP – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to the media after learning the U.S. Justice Department is …

PHOENIX – The Justice Department sued the nation’s self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” on Thursday, calling Joe Arpaio’s defiance of an investigation into his office’s alleged discrimination against Hispanics “unprecedented.”

It’s the first time in decades a lawman has refused to cooperate in one of the agency’s probes, the department said.

“I think they know we have not been racial profiling, so what’s the next step — camouflage the situation, go the courts, and make it look like I’m not cooperating,” Arpaio said Thursday.

Arpaio said he provided “hundreds of thousands” of reports but hasn’t turned over others because the department’s request was too broad.

Arizona Republican Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the new Arizona law, called the Justice Department’s actions against Arpaio a “witch hunt.”

“This is the game that’s played,” he said. “They couldn’t find any violations … that’s why they’re very vague about what they want. It doesn’t take a very high IQ to figure out what’s going on with these folks.”


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