I'm not used to political candidates offering up skeletons for scrutiny, but that's what happened when I sat down for coffee with ex-Phoenix Police Department Sergeant Paul Penzone, who is hoping to turn Sheriff Joe Arpaio out to pasture this election season.

Needless to say, Penzone has his work cut out for him. The former face of the Silent Witness program first has to get past his competitor in the Democratic primary, onetime Goodyear Police Department spokesman John Rowan.

Then he faces King Kong in the form of Sheriff Joe, who despite myriad ongoing scandals, boasts a war chest of $4.1 million cash on hand and name recognition second only to God's.

Joe foe and wanna-be Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone during a campaign event in Phoenix.
Stephen Lemons
Joe foe and wanna-be Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone during a campaign event in Phoenix.

Moreover, a recent challenge on Penzone's behalf of independent candidate for sheriff Mike Stauffer's 29,794 petition signatures has fizzled, leaving the former Republican on the general election ballot with a three-man race for sheriff unavoidable.

Though Arpaio is perceived as weakened by his battles with the U.S. Department of Justice, deaths in his jails, his misspending of $100 million in taxpayer funds, hundreds of botched sex-crime cases in El Mirage, and criminal abuse-of-power allegations against him and his staff, many anticipate a three-candidate contest to result in an unprecedented sixth term for the octogenarian lawman.

Mindful of how Dan Saban was viciously smeared by Arpaio's henchmen in 2004, when Saban challenged Arpaio in the Republican primary, and in 2008, when Saban crossed party lines to battle Arpaio in the general election as a Democrat, one of the first questions I had for Penzone when we met was: Is there anything in your past that Arpaio can use against you?

Penzone didn't hesitate, pointing me to a 2003 altercation with his soon-to-be ex-wife Susan. The two were undergoing a divorce, living in separate Glendale homes, and sharing custody of their 10-year-old son, Austin.

A Glendale police report of the incident conveys the following chain of events: During a week when Penzone had visitation with his son, the two had to stop by Susan Penzone's residence to pick up equipment Austin needed for hockey practice, including his hockey sticks.

Penzone told responding officers that he had called his wife and asked her to place the equipment outside the door of her home.

"Paul stated that . . . Susan had mentioned piano lessons, which Austin was to be present for," reads the report. "A short argument ensued over visitation."

With Austin in the car, Penzone proceeded to his estranged wife's residence, but the equipment was not outside. When Susan came to the door, she asked that Austin retrieve the equipment, then closed the door on Paul.

According to the report, "Paul feared if he let Austin inside the residence, that Susan would not allow Austin out . . . to continue the visitation."

Susan went to the car door and tried to open it, but Paul only let her talk to Austin through the car window, fearing, he told Glendale police officers, that Susan would take Austin inside and discontinue the visitation.

Eventually, Susan went inside to retrieve the equipment, with Paul following behind. She returned with the two hockey sticks and an equipment bag, dropping the bag to the ground when Paul asked that she do so.

When Paul reached for the bag, Susan "allegedly struck Paul with the hockey stick on the right side of the face."

Paul told her she could be arrested for what she had just done, according to the report.

"To which Susan allegedly replied, 'I'll call the police, telling them you assaulted me,'" the report states.

However, it was Penzone who contacted the Glendale cops, he says, via a non-emergency number. Penzone tells me he had requested that a supervisor respond so that the call was handled properly.

A Glendale sergeant sent two officers, informing them that the call was from a Phoenix police sergeant. After talking to Penzone, the cops contacted Susan, whose account of the event was "consistent" with her estranged husband's, "up to the point where she had re-entered the residence to retrieve the hockey equipment."

As she went back for the hockey sticks, the police report says Susan Penzone stated: "Paul allegedly pushed her causing her to strike her forehead on the doorway."

When she came back with the sticks, she "pushed" the hockey sticks toward Paul and "may have inadvertently struck him," she told the cops.

Yet Susan Penzone did not contact the police.

The report noted injuries to both parties, a "minor contusion" to Susan's forehead and the same to Paul's right cheek.

Both were given victim's rights pamphlets for what the report characterizes as "assault/domestic violence." And both told the officer that they desired prosecution. The Glendale city prosecutor's office declined to pursue charges because of "no reasonable likelihood of conviction."

Neither Penzone nor his estranged wife was arrested, though Arizona does have a mandatory arrest law in regard to suspects of domestic abuse when injuries are present.

After reviewing the file, Glendale PD spokeswoman Tracey Breeden noted that Arizona law requires arrest in such situations, unless the officer believes that the victim "will be protected from further injury."

Breeden says there were "no other reports in the system of domestic violence in the past," and no accusations of additional occurrences regarding Penzone.

"The officer felt the victim was safe," Breeden tells me. "And it appeared to be an isolated incident."

Photos were taken of the injuries and recordings made of the interviews at the time, but Breeden says the department no longer has them on file.

The incident did become an issue in the divorce proceedings, with Penzone first issuing his wife an order of protection, after which she quickly followed suit. Ultimately, the judge in the case dismissed both orders, and the divorce ended with Paul and Susan sharing joint custody of Austin.

Both Susan and Paul since have remarried others. Contacted for this story, Penzone's ex-wife declined to comment.

Penzone's account of the incident now is the same one he gave Glendale officers in '03. He insists that he did not push his wife.

"Absolutely, there was no [violent] contact from me to her at any point in time during our relationship or on that day," he says.

He also claims there have been no other alleged domestic-violence incidents in his past or since this incident.

A cursory search of Penzone's record backs up this assertion.

Breeden states that Glendale has no other records involving Penzone.

Penzone's current address is in Scottsdale, where he lives with his wife of seven years, Veronica. The Scottsdale Police Department says there is only one file related to Penzone in its system, when he was the victim of a burglary in 2009.

Penzone says he always has been open about the incident and even has talked about it when lecturing on domestic-violence issues as a police officer.

"We see situations where women are harmed, and that is unacceptable and unforgivable," he explains. "And there are situations where, unfortunately, women act out against men, which is a far much smaller number. At the end of the day, domestic violence is a very serious issue."

He acknowledges that Arpaio or another candidate for sheriff might use the matter against him, particularly in the wake of domestic-violence scandals involving politicians, such as former state Senator Scott Bundgaard and former state Representative Daniel Patterson.

"I would just ask that people judge it with an objective, open mind," he states, adding that he reported the altercation to avoid the possibility of any future incident.

"People will come up with their own assessment," he concludes. "But I assure you I've never harmed my ex-wife or any other woman. This is not in my nature. This is not who I am. This is why I reported it."

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39 comments
MisterMean
MisterMean

Here in Dallas TX  we recieved a mail $$ solicitation for Joe Arpaio's election.   Seems like it should not be up to other states to finnance this election or influance the outcome.

solarinaz
solarinaz

Thank you for being so candid, and let the first perfect person throw stones. Thank you for taking on Joe Arpaio, who is an incompetent embarrassment at best, and more likely a dangerous and rascist fool.

Jn Brown
Jn Brown

when has any prisoner ever had a spa vacation. you got brown eyes?

JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!
JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!

This Allan Bartlett is a well known real joke at several other rags like this one. We just can't wait to see you illegals like you lose in November to Joe. You will get maybe 20 percent of the vote while we landslide you outta here hahahaha. GO JOE GO!!!

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

We are already a third world country. It goes to show what happens when Republicans are in control for so long, that the country (or in our case state) goes to shit.

Idesireliberty
Idesireliberty

I will never ever vote for this loser! Domestic violence is what he is suppose to prevent and defend. Call it what it is, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE do not sugar coat it and call it altercation. Such bullshit from this rag to support this asshole!

Jamescrocker66
Jamescrocker66

All Penzone needs to do, is to look back at Arpiao's record when he was with the DEA in Chicago, and why he left one step ahead of a Federal investigation, into his habit of turning into evidence only a dime bag, of whatever drugs he found on his many raids. It seems that no matter how much drugs were consficated in the raids, Joe Arpiao only turned a dime bag into evidence, earning himself the nickname of "Dime Bag Joe". Why the justice department never pursued arpiao after he left the DEA is a question that noone can honestly answer.

Guest
Guest

Unfortunately I know too many nice guys who got involved with psycho women and vice versa. His openness and honesty about this makes me want to vote for him more...

jt
jt

I live in the great liberal based toilet called california. However, we are also proud owners of a home in Arizona and we love the great state of Az because of people like Sheriff Joe. Not a PC bone/thought in his soul, just hard facts about "Reality" oops i SAID A VERY BAD WORD TO ALL LIBERAL DIPSH-TS "Reality". If Az gets like california I'll sell both houses and find another state to retire in that isn't liberal based. Sheriff Joe all the way and then some...

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

SneakyJake, read my lips, "You love 80 yr old cock," Now wipe the cum off yer lips, you're ,makin me sick.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

You really like the taste of 80 yr old cock, dontcha?

Acorg
Acorg

That's cuz they're both politicians playing party politics. Stauffer's been campaigning for over 2 years and taking it seriously. Up until a week ago all we got out of Penzone's camp was how his golf game was going, the bee hive in his backyard and the latest gala or trip to DC. Penzone had to be wined and dined by the ADP to take on this run ... no way in hell he has the experience or leadership skills to clean up this mess. Not to mention the fact that Penzone has not put one dime of his own money into this race - he as absolutly NO SKIN in this game. At least Stauffer's put his own money at risk. My vote's for Stauffer all the way.

Acorg
Acorg

You need to check out Stauffer (votestauffer.com)

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

Did Scott Bungpole call the cops and report his incident? Nope. Epic fail, dumbass.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

How many politicians DONT have something in their past? It's a matter of HOW you explain, not that you have to explain, smartypants.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

Hey monkey-face, The way I read it is if Penzone had not done things by the book, dipshits like you never would have known about it. Such is the punishment for honesty, inflicted by mental monkey midgets like you, sister.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

Stauffer has his own skeletons, no doubt. And they will surface as well.

SmartyJones
SmartyJones

Penzone just proved he failed PR 101. If you are explaining, you are losing.

SneakyJake
SneakyJake

This guy is two steps away from being the Democrat version of Scott Bundgaard.

Tomato
Tomato

Thanks Stauffer camp. Your objectivity is astounding!

Acorg
Acorg

It's astounding that we would try and minimize any allegations of domestic violence. Yes, every couple in America fights, but for the police to be called demonstrates lack of control and major anger management issues and poor judgment. Not sure if this is who we really want to replace another egomaniac. #AnotherMesaVoter is right, Penzone should have never entered the race and let Stauffer take on Arpaio. Stauffer is the only one with the leadership and strategic planning experience to get the job done. Penzone is out of his league.

Coz
Coz

This is very true...

VIMIIS
VIMIIS

Yep. We are doomed anyway. There will be one too many candidates running against Arpaio and that is what will get Arpaio elected. A split vote among anti Arpaio voters is all he needs...............

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

You're assuming Staufer's past is as clean as you THOUGHT Penzone's was up until you read this article.

CletusTitnuts
CletusTitnuts

YEEHAW, I LIKE QUOTING BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR IN RESPONSE TO POLITICAL TOPICS TOO! GIT-R-DONE! HAW HAW HAW!

Robin Helton
Robin Helton

A recent challenge on Penzone's behalf of independent candidate for sheriff.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

Disagree, Coz. If this is all they have on him, he's a freaking saint compared to Joe R-pie-hole.

Coz
Coz

As they say, there's just no fixing stupid.

Coz
Coz

As they say, there's just no fixing stupid.

bobunf
bobunf

Didn't you read the article?  Penzone says he didn't do it.  The police officers didn't think she was in any danger.  The prosecutor didn't think it possible to successfully prosecute.  She won't say anything more about it.

 

You've gone past innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent and even then, still guilty.  Or, do you just want Arpaio re-elected so he can protect us white people? 

Robisready
Robisready

You are an irrational fool. Unless you are his ex wife or his son you don't have the slightest idea what the hell you are talking about. Stop trying to castigate someone when you have no evidence for your accusations.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Because he sold the majority of the drugs he confiscated to his LEO buddies. I'm telling you, he has dirt on higher ups in the LEO community!!! I've said this at least 10 times here and the reporters still aren't doing the research to reconstruct Arpaio's work history and the people he worked with. The reason he only turned in a "Dime Bag" is because all the other drugs he STOLE he used to sell himself! This guy is a dirty drug dealer - look at his Posse members who were caught using a warehouse owned by the Sheriff to store their drugs in a number of years ago.

Allan Bartlett
Allan Bartlett

shewiff joe goes all the way, in your fetid butthole. Suck the marinara sauce , lil boy.

JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!
JOE_WINS_IN_A_LANDSLIDE!!

SneakyJake don't listen to this illegal freak. He is well known to do this on several other rags. He is an illegal and will not be voting in November. He uses language that a 10 year old uses but he has to look it up and slowly type it in after he translates it from Mexico lingo called SPANISH hahahaha....GO JOE GO!!!!

NEW_TIMES_ANTI_LEGAL_CITIZENS
NEW_TIMES_ANTI_LEGAL_CITIZENS

Green Hornet you speak for yourself and your fellow Illegals! Thats all you have and it's the talk of a loser in November if you can even vote that is hahahahaha. GO JOE GO!!!

 
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