You know how when you’re trying to avoid apologizing to someone who’s upset you throw in a qualifier like “sorry you’re upset” or “sorry you feel that way”? That’s the type of classic non-apology that a Justice Department official gave to officials representing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who were perturbed by the DOJ’s press conference announcing the findings of an investigation into wide-spread civil rights abuses in Arpaio’s office.
Arpaio’s people evidently didn’t get that the DOJ official was trying to be polite. A press release from Arpaio’s office yesterday in conjunction with their letter responding to DOJ called the press conference “a political sideshow that was both unfortunate and misleading and as such, prompted an apology to the Sheriff’s Office by the second in command of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.” A letter from attorneys for Arpaio’s people said that the DOJ official “specifically apologized to us for not being able to control the timing or manner of the announcement of the investigation’s findings.”
Now DOJ wants to clear things up.
“Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin apologized if their feelings were hurt by the public release of the findings,” DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement to TPM, “but he informed them that the civil rights division always publicly releases the findings of its law enforcement investigations because it is absolutely crucial to tell the people in the relevant community what was found so that the community is part of any necessary reform. Some examples include New Orleans, Puerto Rico and Seattle.”