Since our earlier post about Deputy Louie Puroll's getting placed on administrative leave, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office has given us a statement from Sheriff Paul Babeu, plus specifics on why Puroll's under investigation.
Puroll's been placed on paid administrative leave while the office's Internal Affairs unit investigates comments he made to New Times reporter Paul Rubin. (THIS JUST IN: Rubin will appear on Fox 10 News at 9 tonight to discuss the case, including a death threat against him that Puroll said was made by a "friend.")
In the statement, the PCSO cites the same comments made by Puroll that we referenced in our earlier post as the reason for the investigation.
From our earlier post:
In the article, Whitewash, Puroll told New Times staff writer Paul Rubin a few details about some encounters he's had with members of a Mexican drug cartel.
See an excerpt below
Puroll tells me that representatives of "the Mexican cartel" have approached him four or five times at this restaurant over the years wanting to do business.
"They didn't want me to sell or buy the stuff, just that they'd make it worth my while to look the other way out in the desert if I bumped into them," he says.
Puroll says he didn't arrest any of these men, call for backup, or write reports about the encounters.
Puroll also told Rubin about a potential threat against the reporter's life made by a "rancher of Mexican decent," who offered to off Rubin for some of things written in his first article on Puroll, Pinalcchio.
See excerpt below:
After four hours of dialogue, I shut down my tape-recorder at the truck stop.
Puroll tells me: "Now that that's off, let me tell you something. You're lucky to be alive right now."
The deputy explains that a friend of his, a "rancher of Mexican descent," recently offered to murder me because of what I wrote in "Pinalcchio."
I ask the deputy what he'd said to his pal.
"I said that it wouldn't be a good idea, not to worry about it," he says evenly.
I ask him why he's telling me this. He sees me taking notes, but continues.
"Thought you'd like to know some people were upset with you, that's all," the deputy replies, smiling slightly.
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The statement also includes a segment we left out.
The PCSO cites comments Puroll made about other shooting incidents in which he's been involved that would make the Vekol Valley incident "seem like eating lunch at a Dairy Queen."
From Sheriff Babeu: "If the statements reported in the article written by Mr. Rubin are in fact proven accurate, the conduct of Deputy Puroll is not consistent with Pinal County Sheriff's Office policies nor do I approve of the way in which he represented our sworn profession."