PHOENIX — An audio recording has surfaced of an Arizona sheriff playing his refusal to cooperate in a racial profiling investigation for laughs at a fundraiser for an anti-illegal immigration group in Texas. He ridicules politicians who sought the probe and displayed contempt toward federal authorities who were — and are still — investigating him on two fronts.
The dismissive comments in 2009 by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio came as the U.S. Justice Department had already launched a civil rights probe of his trademark immigration patrols and the FBI already was examining abuse-of-power allegations for the sheriff’s investigations of political foes.
In the September 2009 speech in Houston, Arpaio boasted that he arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants after politicians and federal investigators started to pick apart his patrols. He said he wouldn’t cooperate with the inquiry, but said he would tone down the patrols — if he was proven wrong.
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