Washington (CNN) – A defiant Sheriff Joe Arpaio accused the Obama Justice Department of trying to "sandbag" him by filing suit against his office Thursday. On another issue rippling through Arizona politics, the lawman said he has never heard of a beheading in Arizona tied to illegal immigration.
The Justice Department said it had no choice but to file suit because it said Arpaio's office was refusing to surrender requested documents and grant its investigators access to Maricopa County Sheriff's Office personnel.
"Just recently our lawyers, in Washington, have met with them," Arpaio said in an interview with me for "John King, USA" to air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. "They have thousands and thousands of our documents. And we thought we had this thing resolved but now they sandbag us and they sue me. Why are they doing that when we are cooperating? It took them a year-and-a-half and why now?
“You know, this is the third lawsuit they've filed against the state of Arizona, now a - a school district and now me. Three times all over alleged discrimination. So it seems like they're ganging up on Arizona - the people of Arizona over this illegal immigration problem. ...They have to describe what they want. They want the whole world. Limit what they want. What did they ask us what they want?"
Arpaio cast himself as "the puppet" in a political battle with Washington and added: "We'll see them in court."
During the interview, I also asked Arpaio about an issue that became a flashpoint in an Arizona gubernatorial debate Wednesday night. Democrat Terry Goddard pressed GOP Gov. Jan Brewer to recant a statement she made earlier this year suggesting Arizona law enforcement officials had found examples of beheadings that Brewer linked to the illegal immigration problem. Media reports in the state have found no evidence of beheadings reported to or by law enforcement agencies.
Brewer did not recant during the debate and ignored reporters' questions about the issue after.
Here is the exchange with Sheriff Arpaio on the issue:
KING: "Have you ever, in your case, either in your county or talking to your law enforcement colleagues in other parts of the state, heard of beheadings?
ARPAIO: "Well, I - I'm not going to speak for her. That's her comments. I'm not running for governor. I did spend 14 years in Mexico and the border. But I don't know, maybe she was talking across the border. You know, Mexico, the United States and Canada are North America. I don't know what she was talking about. But I'm not going to talk - I'm not running for governor. You're going to have to ask her what she meant by that, not me.
KING: "All right, let me just set her aside then. Have you - have you ever come across evidence or a report from your county or a neighboring county of a beheading in Arizona?"
ARPAIO: "Well, I haven't. That doesn't mean other people have. But I sure - I'll tell you one thing, there's plenty of beheadings going on right across the border."
This is another stupid move by Obama and company. The sheriff is to be admired for cracking down on these illegals not sued. He is a hero in my book.
Why is John King always inviting extremists on his shows?
this brown shirt Nazi sherrif needs to comply with the real laws.
wonder how beautiful he will soon feel in pink. Justice will be served with this bigot. Hope he goes back to Italy.
Jeez, why is this guy a law enforcement officer? Maybe he thinks he's living in the dark ages. He has got to go. He lies thru his teeth by saying he is not a racist. Everything he is reported to have done is racist. He would be happier if he was living in the middle ages. He is a disgrace to his badge.
It sounds like sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing something unlawful.
Make him do some time in that tent city jail wearing pink polyester underwear. That might make him be a little more cooperative.
I would like to watch one of the prisoners he abused slap this little man around for about two minutes. I bet he would cry like a baby!
Obama and the Democrats are now engaging in the political prosecution of those they consider political opponents! Outrageous!
Just a thought, if Mexico dissolves into a civil war with the drug lords (quite likely) and they continue to invade our borders, will the border citizens be free to form their militia to protect sovereign American soil since our Federal Government refuses? Our Federal Government has turned into a bad joke on the US taxpayer, if things don't change soon, I think you will see the beginning of the second American Revolution. Funny how the Federal Government forgets about every tax paying American citizens civil rights to prop up illegal activity that costs the tax payer billions annually. You just gotta ask why?
Arpaio would have fit right in with Hitlers Third Reich. This guy has abused his authority, and should be removed from office IMMEDIATELY.
The Republican Party is holding Arizona hostage with their people in all the state government positions. They have been sucking the $$$$ out of Arizona citizens for years through the laws and regulations they pass. They control the govenor, police, tourist trade, prisons, companies. It's time the people of Arizona stand up and fight against the McCains, Brewers, Pearces and Arpaios of Arizona.
John King is not a smart man. He is second tier journalist without probitive skills. He spends more time in the studio mouthing right wing trash than he researches the topics he attempts to discuss.
Like Blitzer, he is an example of the rot and decay at CNN.
Because you are a THUG Sheriff along with the LYING Govenor about beheadings in the desert......go ahead Republicans let these Radicals take over your party......maybe you win majority over one of the Houses in Congress come November but once everyone hears and sees these idiots (Brewer, Paul, Miller, Angle if they get elected) and their lies and their radical ideas come 2012 it will be another year for the Democrats and your party will be toast
Joe Arpaio operates above the law! And think no one can stop him. Good luck AZ.
"RealSheriffJoe: Just had press conf on DOJ lawsuit. It's time for elected officials of AZ to decide where they stand, w/ Obama admin or the people of AZ?".....this is what the fight in Arizona has really been, all about !
Leave the sheriff alone, obama. Unlike you, he is doing his job.
Arpaio is nothing but an opportunist riding the coattails of SB1070 just like Brewer. Arpaio has wasted millions of dollars either in spending or fighting with Maricopa County Board of Supervisors over his departments spending. He is clearly a man out of control and too stubborn to know when to quit.
Expect more of this crap from the New Republic of Arizona. I expect their Governess to file a request for foreign aid any day now. Can we give the whole state back to Mexico?
Arpaio is my ex-boss and he was a good boss however I think he could have handled his media time a little bit more tactful, but a racist he is not.
Poor Joe, one day he's the aggressive "sheriff of america", and yet another day (when he was served w/the federal lawsuit, for example) Joe is a victim of the big bad feds harassing him. Ol' Joe is good at selling himself while selling the citizens of Maricopa county down the proverbial river without a paddle. Wonder if shady Joe belongs behind bars?
There he is ladies and gentlemen - Bull Connor of the 21st century. As he has said so many times about his blatantly unConstitutional concentration camps and illegal searches - if they aint done nothin wrong then they shouldn't object ta gittin searched...........
Arpio knows that he potentially faces the rest of his life in federal prison if when the DoJ gets into the documents and testimony of his department.
Eric Holder is the most inept AG in our history. When he is finally booted out, we will have to totally revamp the DOJ with competent personnel and fire the Holder lackeys!
This Sheriff is a sleaze bag. These people make it very hard to support them when they're not honest, no matter what their position is.
Jan Brewer is another right wing nut liar. Doesn't know it takes seconds to search the internet to get this information ? Another lying bonehead.
We need tough illegal immigration laws, but these people can't adequately provide that. What losers.
I wonder if Joe Arpaio is involved in the 'Prisons for Profits' scandal brewing around Ariz. Govenor Brewer. Maybe he's getting paid by Corrections Corporation of America to say what he's saying, and as this scandal blows apart, Joe's getting just a little edgy we'll all find out just what a liar he is.