Our Local Enemies List. Is This Finally the End for Sheriff Joe?

Folks in other parts of the country hypothesize that their politicians may or may not have enemies lists, but these are all, frankly, wimpy initiatives when compared to our famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his treatment of enemies.  You see, if Sheriff Joe sees you as a political enemy, he brings you up on charges.  When he came in conflict with his bosses, he and his buddy former County attorney Andrew Thomas brought them up on racketeering charges.  When a judge failed to deliver the rulings he wanted in that case, he brought the judge up on bribery charges that fell apart even before the ink was dry (read about some of the hijinx here).

Now there is an ongoing investigation of Sheriff Joe and his department around Arpaio's attempts to get a political opponent, one of his bosses on the Board of Supervisors Joe Stapely, brought up on charges.  Or at least, be seen in the media as brought up on charges, because it is fairly clear that Arpaio was less interested with the strength of the case (which like many of his other political attacks fell apart nearly immediatley) as casting negative media attention on a political opponent.  Money quote highlighted in bold, from the Phoenix New Times which has a great history of staying on Arpaio's case but does not write very well organized articles.

About a month after the indictment, MACE [a division within Arpaio's organization] raided the offices of an associate of Stapley's, developer Conley Wolfswinkel. The claimed justification was that the Sheriff's Office was looking for evidence of additional crimes that detectives had uncovered in the disclosure-form case.

Knight [leader of MACE] had reviewed the search warrant before a raid on January 22, 2009, and believed that he had enough evidence based on testimony from Stapley's bookkeeper, Joan Stoops, to carry out the raid. Stoops told detectives that it appeared Wolfswinkel had inked an agreement to pay Stapley hundreds of thousands of dollars in a land deal when Wolfswinkel had business before the Board of Supervisors.

Knight said Sheriff Arpaio reviewed the search warrant personally — and asked Knight why he hadn't included more details about the case in the warrant. Knight, according to the report, told Arpaio that the details weren't necessary to establish probable cause, the legal term for the level of evidence needed to persuade a judge to sign a search warrant.

The report doesn't specify which details Arpaio wanted Knight to add, but it does describe how Arpaio pressed him on the issue, saying he wanted to make sure the warrant would hold up. Knight didn't buy what Arpaio was saying, believing that the sheriff only wanted the extra information so he could sensationalize the case.

"Are we writing a press release or are we writing a search warrant?" Knight said he asked the sheriff. "I just need to be clear on what we're trying to produce here."

The sheriff stared at him and said sternly: "Get the information in there," the report states. Arpaio then got up and walked out.

Knight did as he was told and included the superfluous information. He had the warrant signed and prepared his deputies for the raid on Wolfswinkel's Tempe business office. He recalled that Arpaio's right-hand man, then-Chief Deputy David Hendershott, called Knight numerous times, asking: "Are we in yet?"

Hendershott, Knight stated, told him that as soon as the search warrant was signed, Knight was to go to the nearest Kinko's and fax a copy to sheriff's headquarters.

"So we get in; we secure the place," Knight said to investigators. "I run over to the nearest Kinko's, which is three or four miles away, [and] fax the document over to him.

"By the time I get back to Conley's business, I've already got a news helicopter flying overhead."

Knight found out later that the search warrant had been handed to the media in conjunction with a press release.

A news conference was under way before Knight got back to his office.

Arpaio also tailored his public statement to emphasize the shocking revelation that Stapley and Wolfswinkel were being investigated in an alleged "bribery" scheme.

The bribery story fell apart within days, by the way, as the officers realized they had the dates wrong on the land deal such that the deal and the supposed political payoff could not be related.

Arpaio faces a myriad of charges.  His defense was that it all happened without his knowledge, which is laughable given the way he is known to run the department.   He is claiming in his PR that the whole department is created in his image but that he has no responsibility for what it does.  Like any good mobster, he apparently had a consigliere named Hendershott who he is attempting to claim now was a loan wolf rather than Arpaio's right hand man, in order to deflect accountability.

The entire article is worth  a read for Arpaio-philes and phobes alike.  It serves as a good summary of some of the worst excesses of Arpaio's reign.

Update:  By the way, does anyone feel comfortable with a police department (much less sheriff Joe) having the weapon shown in this picture.   Can one imagine any legitimate use, short of perhaps a full-blow zombie invasion?   (source)

  • marco73

    Is that the same vehicle that Steven Segal drove through the house during the chicken raid?

  • http://space4commerce.blogspot.com/ Brian Dunbar

    Your sheriff is good for one thing: providing entertainment for the rest of us. Good job!

    By the way, does anyone feel comfortable with a police department

    No.

    And: It's 12 feet up in the air, on the roof of a truck, on a tripod. I don't see any sandbags.

    Some sad sack fires that thing it's going to kick the gunner's ass, skid right the hell off the truck. Probably break something when it hits the pavement.

    I bet they left the spare barrel in the armory.

    Amateurs.

  • Dave Boz

    It's bad enough to have military-grade weapons in any police department, but to put this stuff in the hands of a clownshow like the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is demented and dangerous.

    But Arpaio's constituents probably think he needs it to capture undocumented maids and landscapers. Imagine the danger posed by a rogue Guatemalan with access to a truckful of shovels and a load of palm trimmings.

  • Mark

    @Dave, or he might need it to capture gangs of drug runners which are travelling north and making bases in Phoenix and Dallas now(I know Joe can't do much in Dallas).

    The illegal alien/criminal problem is not a joke. Just because you don't see a problem in your upper middle class community with your illegal maids and gardeners, doesn't mean that lower middle class communities do not suffer from the drug issues, and home invasion robberies.

    I can't wait for a blog about Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the left wing version of Joe. 60 shots fired into a marine, and all the found was a picture of a saint on the wall who is "well known" as the saint of drug runners. But I doubt I will see one coming.

  • http://herdgadfly.blogspot.com/ gadfly

    The attack on Sheriff Joe continues unabated at Coyote Blog -- yet not a single word has been written about Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dipshit, uh, Dupnik who needs to answer the question, "Why is Jose Guerena dead?"

  • Dave Boz

    Dupnik represents nothing but the more violent version of Arpaio. Both are criminally incompentent lunatics. Dupnik kills people in their homes, Arpaio kills them in his jails. There is no chance that Arpaio will use his firepower to 'capture gangs of drug runners.' He has neither the skill nor the desire to go after violent criminals, which is why his greatest captures involve harmless people who come here illegally, work illegally, but basically pose no threat. If you rely on murderous fools like Dupnik and Arpaio for your security, you are in trouble. Thank God there are competent police departments in most Arizona cities so we are not simply at the mercy of these awful make-believe 'lawmen'.

  • TomG

    gadfly, there are several blogs (and websites) which are covering the Jose Guerena case. Radley Balko recently got a nice piece in Huffington Post about it, very well researched and detailed.
    Coyote is just one blogger with a full time job besides. I don't expect him to devote every minute of his spare time to publicize every single case he comes across. Cut him a break, please.

  • Punkster

    @TomG

    But he sure has enough time to post every single piece of Sheriff Joe minutia.

    Eh, it is a good blog, but the Sheriff Joe stuff does go over the top. Of course I don't live in Phoenix, so I chalk it up to not knowing the fine details that only a local would know.

    Of course the guy keeps getting elected after years and years of the good folks in Maricopa county knowing of Joe's "atrocities,". so I can not say if this blogs opinion is valid.

  • Ted Rado

    Is Joe Arpaio over the top? Definitely. But he is a welcome change to the "kick the can down the street and hope for the best" crowd. He and the Governor are at least trying to do something about the problems. If the Feds were doing their job, as they are sworn to do, much of this argument would disappear.

  • http://stopthebreathing.blogtownhall.com astonerii

    I can think of a legitimate use of it. Fighting the drug warlords that our border patrol and Mexico refuse to fight. Just because you got it, does not mean you are forced to use it, but if you do not have it, you are forced to not use it.

    I cannot think of a single legitimate use for a riffle, shotgun or pistol in the home. Oh, wait, unless you are defending against an intruder or at least want the peace of mind that you could defend against one.

  • chuck martel

    Arpaio's election campaign consists of tacking up about a dozen signs around Mesa and then indulging in a jillion dollars worth of free publicity that has made him a national poster boy for law enforcement. Since his only critics are discredited left-wing simpletons like E.J. Montini in the Arizona Republic, normal folks look at him as the rare cop that stands between them and chaos. Too bad that the polarization of society has given him the opportunity to create his empire in the desert.

  • Nate Ogden

    North Hollywood shootout sure could have used one of these;

    "Local patrol officers at the time were typically armed with 9 mm or .38 Special pistols on their person, with some having a 12-gauge shotgun available in their cars. Phillips and Mătăsăreanu carried fully automatic rifles, with ammunition capable of penetrating police body armor, and wore military grade body armor of their own. Since the police handguns could not penetrate the bank robbers' body armor, the patrol officers' efforts were ineffective. SWAT eventually arrived with weapons that could penetrate and several officers also appropriated AR-15 rifles from a nearby firearms dealer."

    I would be upset if my SWAT didn't have atleast one of these available.

    "Shawn Timothy Nelson (August 21, 1959[1] – May 18, 1995) was a U.S. Army veteran and unemployed plumber who stole an M60 Patton tank from a United States National Guard Armory in San Diego, California and went on a rampage on May 18, 1995, destroying cars, fire hydrants, and an RV before being shot dead by police.[2]"

    And maybe even an anti tank rocket launcher, that one I go either way

  • Old Soldier

    Wow. Arizona has some seriously f*cked up Sheriffs!

  • http://space4commerce.blogspot.com/ Brian Dunbar

    he might need it to capture gangs of drug runners ...

    Fighting the drug warlords that our border patrol and Mexico refuse to fight.

    North Hollywood shootout sure could have used one of these;

    You guys have no idea what you're talking about.

    The version shown requires a crew of two to operate, three to lug it around.

    Effective ranges is more than 2,000 yards. This is ideal if you're engaging BMPs or bunkers, less than optimal if shooting at a bad guy just down the block.

    Unless you are Carlos Hathcock you will not shoot this weapon with precision.

    The cops are not willing to budget a lot of training dollars; they will _never_ attain the skill that an 18-year old 0331 has leaving ITS. Which is to say they have no idea what they are doing with this tool.

  • Old Soldier

    I didn't pay much attention to the picture. I assumed they confiscated the .50 cal from somewhere.

    You are telling me that they spent taxpayer money on a M2 - for police work? Damn that's funny.

    Brian is right - no cop is going to learn to use that thing. Maybe there are National Guard or Reservist tankers or grunts in the department who can run it. They will know that there is damn near no police application for that thing. Want to talk about over penetration? Whole neighborhoods won't slow down that slug.

  • Dan

    I would rather have Joe than 90% of the other pussy foot Sheriff's cow towing to the political class.

    The 50 cal is a great sniper weapon, from a half mile or more away. I can assure you, if we had these posted over couple of miles on the border, with appropriate night scopes, the illegal invasion would stop, pretty quickly. The border should be treated as a war front because that's exactly what it is. It is a ground invasion. And a 50 cal is a great representation of the war we're waging.

  • olddog

    Have YOU seen the articles of late as to the mil weapons of the Mex ......sorry Texas drug mafia..(for those with other than public educ...count the bodies) personally I WANT sheriff JOE to have this and more. this artic is more of the med to stop someone actually upholding a LAW! sorry whinies.. those of us in TEX are tired of liberal easements that lead to my front door..