Jerry Sheridan, chief deputy for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, is said to be contemplating his legal options following the release of an ex-deputy chief's gossip-filled book.
Sheridan didn't call New Times back after we called him for comment before printing Friday's article about the newly released book by former veteran deputy Brian Sands, but Sheriff Joe Arpaio's spokeswoman, Lisa Allen, did.
Sheridan "has contacted an attorney," Allen tells us. "He is looking to find out if there's a case here about his reputation [being] defamed."
Of particular concern to Sheridan are statements by Sands that allege apparent bigotry.
Sands is Arpaio's former chief of enforcement, and oversaw the sheriff's immigration sweeps and employer-sanction investigations, among other things. He retired after 30 years on the force in August of 2013, a few months after a federal judge ruled that the sheriff's office had discriminated against Hispanics.
Sheridan, also a veteran MCSO employee, was the former chief of detention at the agency until his promotion in 2011, which occurred after Sheriff Joe Arpaio fired his previous chief deputy, David Hendershott, for misconduct. Sheridan was "ethnically biased," according to Sands. "He would, from time to time, speak in derogatory terms, reference groups of people, and appeared to think he was funny." He gives the example of Sheridan making a wisecrack about a black deputy's "genes."
Allen says she's never heard Sheridan say anything like that.
"There isn't a racist bone in that man's body," she says, adding that the accusations "come out of left field."
The book's statements about Sheridan expressing support for Irish Republican Army leader Bobby Sands, for instance, was a mischaracterization of a joke between them, Allen says.
The sheriff's spokeswoman blasted back at Sands' depictions in the book of the sheriff and his top people.
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"If you can judge a book by its cover, this book is as juvenile and unprofessional and silly as the cover itself," she says."Of all of the people he criticized, we couldn't remember anytime where he stood up and said absolutely not, this is wrong, we're going about it the wrong way. He didn't do it about sex crimes, the birther investigation... illegal immigration. Now to say all of us are incompetent, corrupt, it's mind-boggling,"
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