Updated Feb. 7 2:20PM
After claiming the allegations of civil rights violations by his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office were part of President Barack Obama’s reelection bid, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office said in a statement Monday that they had agreed to work together with the Justice Department to “develop a document that addresses any agreed upon improvements needed.”
Both Arpaio and DOJ are “committed to avoiding unnecessary and expensive litigation by the creation of an enforceable agreement which will lead to sustainable reforms and positive results for all citizens of Maricopa County,” according to a statement from the Sheriff’s office.
The brief statement represents a significant change for Arpaio and for DOJ, both of whom as recently as last week seemed headed to court. The investigation found there was reasonable cause to believe that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office engaged “in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing” and “engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.” The statement came after a meeting held between officials with DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, representatives of Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and the attorneys for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It’s unclear what brought about DOJ backing off its immediate threat to sue.
DOJ had previously said they’d sue Arpaio in the near term unless they were convinced he was acting in good faith. Discussions are now supposed to be completed by April 14, 2012, a month and a half after Arpaio’s “cold case posse” announces the findings of their “shocking” investigation into Barack Obama’s birth certificate and eligibility to be president.