Louie Puroll Gets Fired for Lying

It has been a mostly hellish ride for Louie Puroll, fired last week as a range deputy by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu for lying.

Puroll's name was unknown to most before he said a gang of drug smugglers attacked him with semiautomatic weapons April 30, 2010, in the desert between Casa Grande and Gila Bend.

Puroll's name made big news that night when Babeu spoke of the deputy's "ambush" by the smugglers in the Vekol Valley, about four miles south of Interstate 8. The 53-year-old had suffered a minor flesh wound during the attack, and the sheriff said Puroll managed to retreat to safety as he returned fire with his M-16 rifle and a handgun.

Louie Puroll is contesting his dismissal.
Paul Rubin
Louie Puroll is contesting his dismissal.

Almost everybody's first thoughts were with the deputy and how lucky he must have been to escape a potentially fatal clash relatively unscathed.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — shot Saturday in Tucson along with 19 others, six of whom are dead — issued a press release after the Puroll incident that summed up the mood of a majority of Arizonans.

"What will it take?" she asked. "Who else will be shot? How much more violence must we endure before the federal government secures our border? These are the questions that Arizonans are asking after [the] shooting of Deputy Puroll by suspected drug smugglers. We want answers, and we want them now."

But more questions than answers arose in the next several days, most of them directed at New Times from law enforcement sources in the Phoenix area and elsewhere: Why, they asked, hadn't Pinal County authorities been able to arrest any of the alleged shooters, and why hadn't they found any of the bales of marijuana that Puroll said the men had been toting?

More questions emerged as the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (which processed the crime scene) released respective investigative reports, asking why there were so few expended shell casings from bullets that possibly could have been fired at the deputy?

The story of Puroll's shooting came one week after Governor Jan Brewer's signing of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which called for the harshest restrictions ever on illegal immigrants (the law has been challenged legally, and it remains tied up in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.)

The deputy became a folk hero to many, both in Arizona and nationally, and a symbol of everything that's wrong about the federal government's approach to policing the border (even if the clash occurred about 85 miles north of the line).

Puroll's emotionally charged words to police dispatchers shortly after he called in to say he'd been shot — "Tell my wife I love her" — endeared him to many, including his sheriff, whose national profile increased dramatically in the aftermath. Sheriff Babeu became a mainstay on Fox News following the Puroll shooting.

New Times' initial reporting on the incident led to a May 3 blog post (four days after the shooting) in which it was noted that there was "no evidence at this point that suggests Deputy Puroll is anything but a stellar peace officer. But questions quietly have arisen among some law enforcement types about the bizarre incident in the desert."

Sheriff Babeu held a press conference in response to the post — which compared the incident to that of a Phoenix police officer who staged his own shooting ("A Shot in the Dark," March 25, 2002). The sheriff released recordings of Puroll's calls to dispatchers after the clash and gave a detailed description of the deputy's account.

"There's no doubt in my mind that this happened," the sheriff said.

A few weeks later, New Times quoted a cop familiar with details of the crime scene. "That whole scene was just not right," the officer said, adding that DPS investigators had "found zero evidence supporting [Puroll's] recollections of the incident."

Pinal County sheriff's investigators' probe into what happened in the desert was, at best, tepid. Their interview of Deputy Puroll in early May was devoid of anything approaching a hard question.

On September 23, New Times published "Pinalcchio," a lengthy examination of the Puroll shooting case. The piece raised numerous questions about his account and about the less-than-thorough investigation by his PCSO peers.

In that story, a pair of veteran forensic pathologists who, at this newspaper's request, studied photographs of Puroll's gunshot wound said it looked like a contact or near-contact wound. If true, that would have rebutted the deputy's account of getting shot from a distance.

Sheriff Babeu blasted New Times as a "conspiracy-driven" newspaper and for supposedly "hiring" the pathologists, Drs. Michael Baden and Werner Spitz — even though the experts had provided their opinions without financial compensation. But media pressure eventually forced the sheriff to order his investigators to belatedly send the bloody T-shirt worn by Puroll during the alleged shootout to the state's crime lab for examination.

In early October, Babeu convened the media in Florence to announce (live on CNN) that the lab's testing had revealed the lack of any gunshot residue on the T-shirt.

That told the sheriff, seemingly once and for all, that Puroll hadn't shot himself, even though many more questions about his truthfulness remained unanswered.

1
 
2
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
56 comments
davetheman
davetheman

If louie gets fired for lying, can't Paul get fired for lying?

Waltermiddy
Waltermiddy

when I first heard about this, I assumed he was out there to jack some "mules", and grab the cash and drugs. As a long time cop, no one is going to do any of this shit unless you are dirty, OR have a HUGE RAMBO complex.

The more you learn of this guy, HE HAS A HUGE NEED for attention and wants public recognition as RAMBO Jr.

Nothing happened out there, he set the whole thing up to fake this 'shootout', and he did it because having others see him as RAMBO is the most important thing to him.

People often run around in marine or army uniforms with medals, who never served in any military or earned any medals, because they have a all-consuming desire to be honored and admired. That is imho, 100% of the motivation in this case..

Also, "range officers" are the biggest egomaniacs who come to prize "war stories" above all else and are dead serious to the point of the rediculous about being seen as supercop/rambo.

I have never encountered one range officer who is 'normal', because this cop-culture and desire to be a tactical hero becomes their entire life and purpose. The range officers are almost all Walter Middy types, not slamming them, its just true.

Chris In Tempe
Chris In Tempe

Most cops are good people and do an admirable job. From time to time an heroic one. Sadly there is always some percentage of asshats in every population. Some go so far as being crminals behind a badge. Most are just minor idiots. At the moment all we can say for certain about Puroll is his mouth out ran his brain. If his claims about contacts with drug smugglers was correct, he deserved to be fired and perhaps investigated. If he was just blowing smoke for his own entertainment, he embarassed his department and deserved to be fired.

As to what happened to him out in that desert, this we do not know. Which is suspicious enough to want him investigated for it.

Something his boss failed to do.

Steamedup
Steamedup

I dig these comments about how much cops lie, cheat, steal and are generally lousy humans. Of course get your purse snatched, shot, stabbed, burgled--any number of crimes and the first thing you do is call the cops and whine about being a victim. Look JoeSmoe, you live in the real world there are bad people out there who will steal your shit, fuc your wife and kill you. Either defend yourself and fam. or support the Cops who do their best to do so for you. But why bag on them all the time--If you have a better system to keep the peace and maintian public order on our roadways I would love to hear it--trying going to Europe or other Socialist countries where the Cops are part of the Federal system and see how many rights you have that won't be trampled on--at least here in the Red, White and Blue you have redress when Cops go to far.

Steamedup
Steamedup

Couple of points--1st maybe PCSO fired this guy cause they could prove he was lying this time. Maybe they were unable to sufficiently prove Pinalchio was lying about shooting to withstand a merit hearing if they fired him for that. More than one way to skin a cat--and they did so on the reporter interview. Second point--New Times should be glad that the lying is not a fireable offense in the New Times world cause they are guilty, guilty, guilty often times of yellow journalism and sensationalism to radicalize points. Talks about the pot calling the kettle black. NewTimesinocio.

The Mute
The Mute

he was stupid enough to talk to new times. that was one of his stupid ignorant dumb pig cop mistakes. never talk to the media ever no matter who you are.

Car_del99
Car_del99

So, Purrol made a monkey out of Sheriff Baboon,,,, very interesting...

Guest
Guest

He was't fired for lying about anything, he was fired for talking to the PhoenixNewTimes about a specific topic. It was against his department's policy to do so.

Duh.

Ak47man
Ak47man

How long will it be before Puroll goes postal?

Billy Buck
Billy Buck

GEE REALLY? HE LIED? i knew that the first time this piggy open up his pig mouth. what took you fucks so long to figure out the truth? PIGS LIE ALL THE TIME! check out the pig website at cops gone bad dot com and read for yourself. pigs now days are worse than the people they go after.

Billy Buck
Billy Buck

GEE REALLY? HE LIED? i knew that the first time this piggy open up his pig mouth. what took you fucks so long to figure out the truth? PIGS LIE ALL THE TIME! check out the pig website at cops gone bad dot com and read for yourself. pigs now days are worse than the people they go after.

Marcy
Marcy

An untruthful cop? A cop that embellishes?

I'd be more surprised if you found one who didn't. I think after enough years on the job practicing their story telling that they convert fiction to fact in their own minds.

Just another reason why eye witness testimony, whether by a cop or non-cop, should be treated with extreme caution in courts, people can and do convince themselves that they saw things they didn't see at all.

malasangre
malasangre

so how does all your BS not make this cop a lying POS? and cops STOP very little crime? sure they will come and take a report AFTER i,m robbed. Every wide load in a squad car is not a hero. Get over yourself

BK
BK

The New Times as always has done a stellar job. I remember not so many years on the campus of West H S (now Metro Tech) that the New Times was considered contraband and was read in secret by those of us who thought we were cool. Thank you New Times from an aging hippie and moderate left winger for you doggedness, determination and yes FAIRNESS in exposing scoundrels, charlatans and liars. Be them criminals, cops, politicians or all three in one.

Phonse
Phonse

Even the national ass'n of chiefs of police admit, that no police force is in a position to provide individual safety & security. Each of us has the responsability for the defense of our famlies, homes, and selfs. "Protect and Serve" looks cute on the side of a police car, but "Respond & Serve" is more honest. I AM NOT BAGGING ON THE POLICE! They can not be expected to do all that we ask of them, while we limit their resourses. If I suffered an armed home invaision, and even if the police managed to arrive in 7 minutes; its' highly likely that the intruders would already entered hell six minutes before. I have had very extensive training, and I would apply it if necessary, leaving the responding police to take a report & possibly arrest me; but I'd rather be judged by 12 than be carred by six friends.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

That redress is meaningless with the police lie and get away with it.

Just because we need police and rely on police doesn't mean we can't complain about the police and that we can't try to hold to as high a standard as damn well choose.

If we don't have those rights, then we no longer live in a democracy. Instead, we would be living in a police state. That may please you, but the majority of us actually love America and reject your efforts to limit our freedom.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Why do you hate Law Enforcement so much? It was the Sheriff's office who stated it fired the man for being untruthful, but here you are accusing the Sheriff's office of lying.

Could it be that you are the one who is talking out of his ass, with nothing to back up your claims?

Max Fischer
Max Fischer

Generalize much?

Holy shit.

Are there bad cops? Yup. Is this deputy full of shit? Seems like it. But to say that most cops turn to shitheads after a certain amount of years? Does not compute.

Coz
Coz

And what's amazing is how the courts and juries believe everything thing they say no matter how bizarre or off the wall.

Jonelle  Jones
Jonelle Jones

What freedom!?! Please if you don't have the money you are not worth shit in this piece of shit country, but I do agree with "if your going to be cops please, try to act like it". I trust the police as much I trust the shitty-ass government!!! But they need to do something about these illegal f@$%ing mexicans!!!!!

Phonse
Phonse

I am in agreement with Kit Carson's point that we have a right to hold the police, at every level, to as high a standard as we damn well chose. I believe that the majority of Americans are begining to recognize just how much OUR rights are being eroded. Mr. Carson, I agree we are geting real sensative about the very real efforts being expended to limit our freedom. Some folks say, "hey its' cyclical, we've been here before, and we'll be here again". The very real problem is that the time BETWEEN cycles is shrinking at an alarming rate. An example, gun rights are being attacked again. I ask why our gov't is afraid of our firearms??? An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject! This battle was first fought almost 240 years ago. Our founding Fathers felt so strongly about gun rights, that our 2nd Amendment address the rights of citizens to own firearms. It is the 2nd Amendment upon which all other rights stand. That amendment ensures our rights, but again we see that amendment being attacked again. We are finally emerging, I believe, from our long run "head in the sand" posture. If we lose even one right in the name of safety, security, and national defense; we will be a weakened nation. I've taken up arms in one of this country's conflicts. I am prepared to do so again as it says, 'in the face of all enemies, foreign or domestic!'

Steamedup
Steamedup

All I am hearing from you Kit is more meaningless crybaby, whining. Give me a better system than the one we have now--Tell me which country on PLANET earth has a better justice system and maybe you will have some credibilitiy--If you can't do this you remain a bitcher with no solutions--you simply want to create problems and be devicive. I learned early on in the military: LEAD, FOLLOW or get the Fuc outa the way so the hard lifting can get done by Men with broader shoulders than yours.

Adsf
Adsf

Actually, it computes really well. Ask any public defender or private criminal attorney who has been around for 10+ years. They can tell you about the police life-cycle, from sincere rookie to lying POS veteran.

Or, ask yourself the following: have you or someone you trust ever encountered a cop who lied about a simple traffic fine, such as speeding or swerving?

Most of us can say "yes." If a cop will lie about something so simple, they will certainly lie when that lie really means something. Further, given how infequent are most people's interactions with the police, that most all have encountered a cop who is willing to lie reveals that most cops do lie.

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...