Arpaio lashes out at Justice Department, Obama - CBS 5 - KPHO

Arpaio lashes out at Justice Department, Obama

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not one to back down easily. And today was no exception.

The Department of Justice accused the long-time sheriff of violating the rights of Maricopa county residents by racially profiling. But Arpaio says the DOJ's investigation was politically motivated.

"Don't come here and use me as a whipping boy for a national, international problem," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The DOJ warned Arpaio to stop racially profiling Hispanic members of the community, or face the consequences. But Arpaio vowed to continue his controversial immigration sweeps.

"I took an oath of office. I'm enforcing the state and federal laws," Arpaio said.. "It's as simple as that, and I will continue to enforce those state laws."

The normally media friendly sheriff stayed away from the cameras for most of the day today. And when he did speak, it was during a late-afternoon news conference with his attorneys at his side.

"I'm going to say it again, I will continue to enforce all the laws," Arpaio said during the 40-minute news conference.

Thursday the Federal Government stripped MCSO of it's right  to conduct immigration screenings in the jail. A practice that Arpaio says has enabled him to arrest more than 44,000 illegal criminal offenders in the last four years.

"You know what? I'll tell you one thing: The people should be outraged, because those people we've held in our jails are going to walk out of the jail and be on the streets," Arpaio said. "No, we're not going to be able to do what we have done."

Since the DOJ began investigating Arpaio's office three and a half years ago, several MCSO top commanders have been fired or stepped down. But we're told MCSO has continued to violate the civil rights of Maricopa County residents. 

"President Obama and his band of his merry men might as well erect their own pink neon sign on the Arizona-Mexico border saying welcome to your United States," Arpaio said. "Our home is your home."

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