Joe Assumes Deposition

Arpaio tries to distance himself from pronouncements about punishing inmates

Arpaio testified that he has no way of knowing if any of his employees ever see his numerous television and print appearances, and he denies that they have been required to watch or read such material.

But a Sheriff's Office document obtained by Johnson's lawyers proves just the opposite: A routing slip written by Tom Bearup instructs all jail employees to watch the CBS report which included Arpaio's statement that his men probably had a reason for slamming Johnson against a wall.

During much of the deposition, Robbins tried, mostly in vain, to get Arpaio to answer basic questions about what he considered excessive force and other violations of department policy regarding inmate treatment, as well as Arpaio's knowledge of the Johnson case.

In contrast to the fiery sheriff who is quick to tell reporters that he's in complete control, Arpaio repeatedly claimed that he relies almost entirely on others to make determinations about what constituted violations in his jails.

Robbins acknowledges that going after the larger issue of Arpaio's culpability in the case is a tough proposition. But he says that makes the case worth trying.

"We want to be able to change the way the county treats these people," Robbins says. "And we want Arpaio to start thinking in ways other than sound bites for the media.

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