Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Washington, D.C.-based attorneys have demanded an investigation into the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for what they believe is a politically motivated investigation into the sheriff’s illegal immigration sweeps.
Arpaio’s attorneys wrote to President Barack Obama’s officials on Sunday, questioning whether investigators followed ethics rules in launching probes this year into his office, in an attempt to determine whether its investigation has a pre-determined outcome.
The county sheriff’s office, which announced its demand of a probe on Monday, currently is being investigated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security for possible civil rights violations of Hispanics during illegal immigration crime sweeps.
Arpaio’s demand of an investigation into the two departments comes nearly three months after the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, headed by former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, announced its investigation into his office.
Arpaio called the investigation into him and his office “politically motivated,” and said he wants the departments investigated for using strong-arm tactics and improper political influence in conducting an investigation with predetermined conclusions.
It was not immediately clear who would conduct an investigation into the departments, or if one would be conducted.
Neither a representative from the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Justice could be reached for comment by the Tribune on Monday.
However, in a report by the Washington Post, Alejandro Miyar, a Justice Department spokesman, said officials there will review the letter written Sunday.
“Because this matter is open and ongoing, we cannot comment on the investigation other than to restate that career professionals in the Civil Rights Division began looking into this last year, and the department made the decision to open this investigation in the same manner we make every such decision, based on the facts and the law,” Miyar said.
Amy Kudwa, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, said that the department will review the letter from Arpaio but that its probe is a “broad evaluation of the program as part of the Secretary’s overarching review of all immigration and border security programs and policies. It is not an investigation.”