Montgomery to DOJ: 'Put up or shut up'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- The day after negotiations between the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Department of Justice fell apart, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery accused federal prosecutors of playing games, instead of handing over evidence to back their claims.

"I demand as the duly elected officer with responsibility for prosecutions, to be given that information immediately," Montgomery said. "This posturing, this playing hide the ball in the context of civil litigation, is disgusting, particularly when it involves criminal prosecutions"

"Put up, or shut up," he added.

Montgomery sent DOJ officials a letter on December 16, the day after they announced findings of racial profiling and discriminatory policing within MCSO, requesting documentation of ongoing instances of such claims.

Negotiations between MCSO and Justice Department officials crumbled on Tuesday when attorneys for Arpaio refused to agree to have an independent monitor oversee terms of an agreement.

A DOJ spokesperson said the monitor would ensure "fair and sustainable reforms." but Arpaio's attorneys said the monitor would infringe on Arpaio's law enforcement authority.

Federal prosecutors indicated that they are moving towards filing a civil lawsuit against Arpaio.

"They want to take me to court for political reasons," Arpaio said on Fox News Wednesday. "I'll be glad to go to court, then they'll have to put the facts on the table, which they refuse to give me any information about so-called allegations."

Arpaio foes demonstrated outside of MCSO headquarters Wednesday afternoon, saying if the matter goes to court, county taxpayers will be stuck paying the price.

"Sheriff Arpaio basically stuck his nose at the federal government and said, 'I do not care what you say, I will not cooperate with you, I will cost these taxpayers millions of dollars to defend me,'" said Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.