Transcript for Justice Department Investigates Immigration Law
-- the hottest issues in this country just got a lot hotter. The man who has become a national symbol of getting tough on illegal immigration the sheriff who calls himself the toughest sheriff -- the... See More
-- the hottest issues in this country just got a lot hotter. The man who has become a national symbol of getting tough on illegal immigration the sheriff who calls himself the toughest sheriff -- the country. Was slammed today by the full force of the US government. Which says his office deployed abuse retaliation. And discrimination. Against Hispanics. All of it adding to the inflamed debate -- sheriff Joseph Arpaio a champion -- bullet. ABC's senior Justice Department correspondent Pierre Thomas is here with what happened to -- Pierre. -- as you said the -- -- toughest sheriff in America now finds himself in the cross hairs of the Justice Department. And it is all but accusing him of running a racist operation that the department says must be stopped. I'm an equal opportunity law enforcement and incarcerate -- lock everybody area blunt talking. You do something wrong you lose your privileges and -- punished forced. Hero to -- -- across the nation. Where his relentless pursuit of illegal immigrants I have a zero tolerance old school. He made inmates were stripes and for good measure pink socks and -- underwear. But today following a three year investigation the Justice Department was blunt claiming the maverick sheriff. Engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing specifically. Engages in racial profiling of Latinos and unlawfully stops -- and arrest Latinos. Federal prosecutors say in our pails -- the -- drivers are up to nine times more likely to be pulled over for traffic stop. Latino inmates who did not speak English were punished even -- and access to medical care. And people opposed to the department's policies were frequently arrested and jailed for no reason. In one case a Latino man who was a legal US resident was locked up for thirteen days for not having a driver's license. -- -- inmates have claimed abusive conditions for years this is wrong food we eat is. Disgusting it's one of concentration camp than anything else his response has always been the same hogwash. We run a professional organization. I've been around 48 years. Of vocalists and all that garbage I don't have. And today he remained defiant. Tonight he was defined again saying he will try to cooperate but at the Justice Department -- quote. I will see them in federal court I am Pierre Thomas reporting -- -- thanks to you.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.