AZ sheriff faces crossroads in civil rights case

PHOENIX (AP) -- America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff is fast approaching a crossroads where he'll either have to settle claims that his officers racially profile Latinos during his trademark immigration patrols or take his chances in court.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces an April 14 deadline for finishing talks with the U.S. Justice Department to settle a wide range of civil rights allegations.

A settlement could lead to changes long sought by Arpaio's critics and short-circuit a separate racial profiling case set for trial this summer.

Most police agencies facing similar allegations by the Justice Department opt to settle, but critics wonder whether the sheriff's stubborn streak will lead him to engage in a trial.


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