Over the course of the investigation the DOJ interviewed more than 400 people, including 75 current or former MSCO staff and 150 former and current inmates.
The report also tells of racist e-mails that were circulated through the office, racial slurs directed at Latino inmates, and the illegal arrest of an immigration rights organizer that Arpaio smugly approved of on a social networking profile. The Maricopa County attorney later dropped the charges against the organizer admitting that there was no probable cause for the arrest.
“The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO’s culture, and are compounded by MCSO’s penchant for retaliation against individuals who speak out,” Perez said.
The DOJ says effective resolution will require MCSO to develop a written agreement along with federal judicial oversight.
“We prefer to resolve this matter without resort to further litigation, although we will not hesitate to file suit, if necessary….If MCSO is not interested or if we deem that MCSO is not engaged in good-faith efforts to achieve compliance by voluntary means, we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance,” the report says.
MSCO has until January 4 to respond.
photo by Gage Skidmore/flickr