A bunch of amateurs at Tempe P.D.: It's always a hoot to read stories about how local cops, politicians, and whoever cozy up to celebrities ("Shaqzilla," Paul Rubin, September 22).
This story says more about the Tempe Police Department's willingness to kiss Shaquille O'Neal's posterior just to hang out with the, um, great man than it does about any wrongdoing by Shaq.
New Times feedback
The fact that he was known as "Detective" O'Neal speaks volumes about the bunch of amateurs who run the Tempe P.D.
And what about the state of Arizona giving [O'Neal] officer certification by waiving certain important criteria — like actual training as a law enforcement officer?
And then he gets to go out on undercover missions? What a farce!
Tracy Allen, Tempe
Scary stuff: What the "Shaqzilla" story tells me is how easy it would be for unscrupulous cops to plant kiddy porn on somebody's computer. Absolutely terrifying!
Marta Ramos, Tempe
Praise or scorn where warranted: Another Paul Rubin scoop! And, as usual, a real page-turner. Way to go, Paul. You keep topping yourself.
With Rubin, I always know that the cops fucked up if he has criticized them. As a former cop, I appreciate that he praises law enforcement when justified and bashes them when not.
Jeff Warren, Phoenix
Shaq going undercover is hilarious: The scene in your article where Shaq goes out to the Casa Grande trailer park as an undercover operative made me laugh out loud.
I mean, the very idea of a 7-foot-2, 350-pound black guy blending in as an undercover agent is side-splittingly funny.
The denizens of that trailer park must have thought they were hallucinating!
Josh Feldman, Tempe
Question for Tempe P.D.: Tempe Police Department, "Tell me how [Shaq's] ass tastes."
Timothy Carl, Phoenix
Shaq as Barney Fife: My favorite part of the story was when Shaq goes undercover at the Virginia pumpkin farm.
To quote from your article:
"We've got a gun!" [Shaq] boomed [after he yanked a rifle off the rack of a nearby pickup].
"Are you Shaquille O'Neal?" [the farmer] asked the huge black man, who would have stood out even if he weren't more than 7-foot-tall in a county where more than 90 percent of the population is white.
"No," the self-described "master of surveillance" replied. "My name's Tony."
The Tempe Police Department wasn't the only law enforcement agency willing to kiss the Big Washedup's ass. And it was interesting that the farmer was innocent of the child-porn-possession charges the local Barney Fifes had swooped in on him about.
Arturo Santos, Phoenix
Enough to make your blood boil: What an outrage that all these police departments — Tempe's included — let this celeb take advantage of them, just because he wants to play cop.
But, from your story, it sure seems like Shaq's motives were to get the guy who was in cahoots with his ex-wife in their divorce case. Not that I can't understand why victims of Shawn Darling wouldn't want to make this scumbag pay.
The fact that [Darling] would turn on Shaq after all the money the big man paid him tells you that Darling has no character. But, fact is, Shaq's not allowed to use his police connections to go after an enemy, or to look into somebody else's computer — if [that's what he] was doing?
John Ray Simmons, city unavailable
Perfect-world B.S. is what sells: Paul, Paul, Paul, there you go again telling the truth. When will you learn?The truth does not sell books, articles, short stories, or newspapers.
It is all that we-live-in-a-perfect-world bullshit that sells. This is what people want to see.
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Seriously, good job.
Carl ToersBijns, city unavailable
Breaking the law: Celebrity privilege includes breaking the law when celebrities want to. That's the way it is.
But not for you and me. We'd be charged and found guilty with a nice prison sentence because we don't play professional sports.
Walter Concrete, city unavailable
Tempe is a close fourth in corruption: This article — just like other similar exposés of celebrities and/or athletes who live in or visit the Phoenix metro area — once again proves that the law enforcement in Arizona is a sham and corrupt.