The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known internationally as "America's toughest sheriff," saying talks between the two sides have fallen through.
The Obama administration and Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had been in the midst of settlement talks, after the Justice Department accused it of systematically discriminating against Latinos.
As part of the settlement, the department wanted Arpaio to allow an independent monitor to oversee reforms at his office. The Justice Department called it a "key, non-negotiable requirement."
The two sides were scheduled to meet Wednesday, but Arpaio called off the meeting at the last minute, the Justice Department said.
"We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin Jr. in a letter Arpaio's legal counsel.
It added: "MCSO's refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil action."
Arpaio shot back, saying he would not "surrender" his officer to the federal government.
"Appointment of an outside monitor essentially usurps the powers and duties of an elected Sheriff and transfers them to a person or group of persons selected by the federal government," he said in a statement Tuesday.
"And so to the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say, 'This will not happen, not on my watch!'"FULL STORY