Moving Target

Vocal leader of deputy's group is candidate for dismissal

Mann's deposition contains other interesting revelations about Arpaio.
For years, deputies have told New Times that Arpaio's much-publicized jail and law enforcement innovations were really shams put on for a cheerleading local press. One of the cornerstones of Arpaio's myth about himself was that he had spent two nights in Tent City, unafraid to sleep among dangerous inmates with no special precautions to protect him. It was a staple of Arpaio's speeches to retiree groups and visiting journalists.

But in 1996, New Times obtained payroll records of deputies in the Tactical Operations Unit--the county's SWAT team--which showed that on both occasions the TOU officers had been deployed all night in a nearby building, ready to rush into Tent City to rescue Arpaio in case there was trouble. On the second night, when Arpaio took along an Arizona Republic reporter, a TOU sharpshooter was placed on a building overlooking the tents.

Only after New Times obtained the records did the sheriff's office acknowledge that special precautions to protect Arpaio had been taken. But the sheriff himself claimed that he had known nothing about the TOU precautions. "Now whether someone had TOU on call, you'll have to ask the staff on that. But there was no TOU in the tents or around the tents that I know of," Arpaio told New Times in 1996.

Lieutenant Mann's deposition suggests that Arpaio was lying about that as well.

Mann was the commanding officer of the Tactical Operations Unit when Arpaio decided to sleep in Tent City. Mann testified that he spoke personally with Arpaio about the precautions he would be taking, which included selecting a tent with inmates who had no record of causing disturbances in jail. Mann also indicated that Arpaio posed for photographs in jail clothing so he would be recognized by TOU officers.

"I reviewed with [Arpaio] what inmates were left in the tents, which ones, you know . . . that probably would not cause a problem," Mann said. "I made sure that I had photographs of the sheriff when he was dressed in his jail clothes so that I could show the rest of the squad members during our planning sessions."

The second time Arpaio slept in Tent City, he took with him a Republic reporter. Mann says Arpaio wanted to make sure the reporter was unaware that special precautions had been taken.

"On the second occasion that I, we guarded the sheriff when he slept in the tents, I was specifically instructed to make sure that the media did not see my people," Mann testified.

The TOU officers made notations on their paysheets indicating that they had been deployed the two nights in a special operation for the sheriff. New Times obtained these payroll records, forcing the sheriff's office to admit that TOU had worked the detail. Mann testified that the sheriff's office wanted to make sure the press wouldn't be able to embarrass them again in the future.

"My guys couldn't put the reasons for their overtime on their paysheets anymore. We were to use yellow Post-it notes," Mann said during his deposition.

"And why was that?" Mann was asked.
"So that they could be removed. . . . This was after the, what I was told is the paysheets had gone to a newspaper and that my guys had put explanations on it and I was told that that would not be done any longer," Mann answered.

Mann's revelation is but one of many allegations that Arpaio and his aides routinely suppress or alter evidence that would damage Arpaio's image. The sheriff's office recently admitted that it has stopped keeping certain records that New Times had at one time obtained, which showed Arpaio had misused more than $100,000 of state money. Michael Manning, the attorney for the survivors of inmate Scott Norberg, who was asphyxiated in Madison Street Jail, accused Arpaio of destroying or withholding key evidence in a wrongful death suit. Arpaio was forced to turn over documents that seriously undermined his version of facts in the case two years after Norberg's death. Shortly thereafter, the county agreed to an $8.25 million settlement. The sheriff also withheld for two years a crucial videotape from Richard Post, the paraplegic who is suing over his treatment during a single night in jail when he suffered permanent neck damage.

Following a 1996 New Times story ("Mutiny at the County," April 25), which revealed that some of Arpaio's biggest critics worked for him, the sheriff tried to find out which deputies had cooperated in the article's preparation. He fired one suspected "dime-dropper" and then ordered massive reassignments for others that he considered disloyal. Former deputy Robert Wetherell recently described a clandestine meeting held at a Van Buren Street hotel during which Arpaio, Hendershott, public relations aide Lisa Allen and other sheriff's office employees planned the large shift of personnel.

Mann found that he had been put on Arpaio's targeted list of disloyal employees. A resident of the northwest Valley, Mann lost his TOU assignment and was given a patrol job in Mesa. Others targeted by Arpaio were given similarly inconvenient assignments, Mann said.

Later Mann was moved to the unglamorous job of prisoner transport and eventually found himself in the basement of deputy jobs: checking in evidence in the sheriff's property room.

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