STICKIN TO JOE
Our own Idi Amin: Unbelievable! Sheriff Joe Arpaio's now asking the city of Phoenix for public records on travel ("Bird Alert," Stephen Lemons, June 28) when he's refused time and again to turn over public records to New Times despite a state law requiring him to do so?
If I were the city, I'd tell him to go to hell. Or that I'd give him the city's records when he fucking turns over his own travel records to New Times!
Way to pick at a sore spot, Mr. Bird, though, as you stated, the same laws that apply to the rest of us don't apply to slimy SOB Joe. You will never get those travel records out of Joe, unless the judiciary in my former hometown suddenly grows a pair!
Joe has no problem whatsoever applying a law to somebody else that he has no intention of obeying on his own. He truly believes he's a monarch accountable to nobody. The Idi Amin of Maricopa County.
James Mann, Los Angeles
Coloring the whitewash: The Taser stories in your recent editions have been first rate. I got the idea that I was getting real facts about the weapons ("Aftershock!" June 21, and "Death by Electrocutioner," June 28, both by Paul Rubin).
In the first story, you proved that Tasers have been a tool that's beneficial to both police officers and to the people they apprehend. I could see from your research that far more people would've been killed and injured without stun guns. In the second article, you examined one of the few times a person's been Tased to death in Phoenix and, boy, this case was a doozy.
The first article said that, while Tasers were a good thing overall, there have been rogue cops who've abused them, and from what you reported, I'd say the case profiled in "Death by Electrocutioner" is a prime example.
The fact that the Phoenix Police Department saw no reason to discipline these two cops, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, is a sad commentary. An 84-second stun-gunning doesn't happen if somebody doesn't have an ax to grind. You quoted other police officers in the story as saying that such a long Tasing just doesn't make sense, and I'd say they're right.
A case like this should be looked at by the U.S. Attorney's office because it's obvious that local authorities are too busy whitewashing the horrid actions of certain cops to do a proper investigation. It was classic how you portrayed the Phoenix internal affairs office as trying to help the officers cook up legally plausible stories.
Thanks again for being the only publication in Arizona willing to tell the absolute truth about a situation: Tasers have been a useful tool for protecting public safety, but there have been horrid abuses of this weapon, just like all others in the hands of police.
Lynn Bradley, Phoenix
Tasers and the cops who use them: Thanks to Paul Rubin for once again getting to the bottom of a situation that others have been unable to fathom. He rightly points out in his first story that Tasers have saved life and limb overall and highlights in his second a case of absolute police brutality with a Taser.
How the Phoenix Police Department can come to the conclusion that these two cops don't deserve departmental discipline, if not being brought up on charges, is beyond me.
The fact that the family of the victim was able to get a $2 million settlement speaks loudly. In this law-and-order community, police officers seldom are ruled against. And the city must have felt that the victim's family's lawyers had a slam-dunk case to award that much money!
And yet the PPD rules their actions "in policy." Incredible! This is why people have learned over the years to fear and hate cops rather than trust and rely on them.
M.E. Boyle, Phoenix
Right on target: Crime writer Paul Rubin has done it again, with two riveting stories about street cops. The first went against the grain that that all Taser use is bad by saying that use of Tasers is a necessary evil. The second made the point that all weapons are misused, including stun guns, by immoral police.
It's about time somebody in the news media told the truth about stun guns. I'd a hell of a lot rather get stunned than shot in the chest. As your story pointed out, cops are taught to shoot to kill or not fire their weapons at all.
Theresa Johnson, Phoenix
Above the law: After reading the article about the death of Keith Graff, I am appalled. If that had been an average person, not a cop, he would be in prison for involuntary manslaughter. It's quite clear this was revenge; otherwise, what reason did the cops have to be in that apartment?
No warrant, no probable cause, just revenge.
Further, I am more disgusted that the county attorney, the AG, and the Phoenix Police Department have chosen to cover it up and forget about it.
Joe "Joke" Arpaio breaks the law and gets away with it time after time and that's not going to change until someone unseats him. But officers, clearly in retaliation, getting away with murder is despicable and should be investigated.
This just proves that officers are above the law. Why should we obey the law if the very people entrusted to uphold it violate it without repercussion? Why are elected officials who are responsible for overseeing these types of issues and responsible for ensuring the welfare of the community doing nothing?
I am ashamed to be an Arizonan because of this, and I hope something is done in the near future to change what is becoming the set of something like L.A. Confidential.
Name withheld by request
Lessons unlearned: It's, indeed, unfortunate what a life Phil Cisneros has been through. But, fact of the matter is, he already was through the system three-plus times when he committed the DUI that he didn't show up to court for ("Death Sentence," Sarah Fenske, June 21).
Most people, with a DUI or not, know that when you get one, you will go to court for it. I would be hard-pressed to believe that he could use this same excuse if he had hit and killed someone while driving drunk.
Plain and simple, he has been dealt some very bad cards, but he didn't learn his lesson. He should be off the streets, and the only way the judicial system can guarantee that is to incarcerate him. Maybe, at his age, he should have been under house arrest.
Steve Olson, Gilbert
Menace to society: If the judge and prosecutor of Gila County want to make an example of this 83-year-old man, let them. Let them penalize the taxpaying public to the tune of $65,000 a year to pay for his medical needs and another $45,000 or more that it takes to keep him in prison. Apparently, Phil Cisneros is such a danger to the public and to himself that we must incarcerate him to make a living example of what it means to drink and drive, then run from the consequences.
Yeah, right . . . I will pull my tongue out of my cheek now.
James Von Tress, Gold Canyon
No more excuses: When are we all going to grow tired of the touchy-feely BS that makes everyone forget that criminal acts were actually committed?
Everyone has got some hard-luck story to tell. We could all make excuse after excuse. Drunken drivers have no excuse! If you drink and drive, you are a selfish bastard, to be sure, and there should be dire consequences for doing so.
The fact that Cisneros walked around for years free without paying his debt to society is but a gift he hopefully enjoyed to the fullest. I, for one, am sick to death of drunken drivers killing and maiming their fellow human beings and crying foul when locked up.
Greg Simons, Glendale
Hes not an example: During the time of his drinking, thank God that Phil Cisneros never injured or killed anyone.
Obviously, he had many issues to deal with, and his family should've made sure he got the counseling needed. Even the system let him down. Three offenses should've been mandatory counseling. Putting him behind bars serves no one. He should not be used as an example.
Yes, there should be some punishment for what he did, but probably in the form of community service.
Roxie Collins, Peoria
Feeling no pain: How dare you tell the Mothers Against Drunk Driving to "eff" themselves ("Mad at Madd," The Bird, May 31)!
Your writer obviously has not had the pain of burying a child because idiots like him think it's okay to drink and drive. You can have a nightlife without getting so drunk you can't drive.
Sandy Fehr, via the Internet
Love the Pig . . .: Love your new Booze Pig column! The dude that does it can fucking write! I love his style and his observations about these denizens of dark bars. What a job! Wish I had it, only my liver and my spouse couldn't take it. I'll live vicariously through C.M. Redding.
Lane Tinsley, via the Internet
. . . Hate the Pig: Ah, New Times! You've been promoting filth for so long that I'm always amazed when you top yourself.
In a day when drunken-driving deaths are at an all-time high, you insult us with a column by a guy who delights in getting drunk as hell in various dive bars in the Phoenix area. Your writer says he's not driving home after this, but I'm sure he's lying!
The real problem with this column is that Redding is a terrific writer, and people on the edge will read this and think getting loaded is swell. Kids will read this and want to be cool like Redding.
A newspaper is supposed to be a benefit to society, not be a drain on it. Wake up, New Times, and stop further denigrating our culture.
Tom Knutson, via the Internet
Birds of a feather: Nice work by New Times writer Ray Stern in uncovering the truth about LifeLock ("What Happened in Vegas . . .," May 31). After all the denials, Robert Maynard Jr. has apparently now resigned from the company ("Slapstick Scammers," The Bird, June 21).
What makes no sense is that although Maynard Jr. has apparently resigned, he is now going to form a "marketing company" and do the exact same work he has been doing for LifeLock as a "consultant."
So, exactly, what is the difference? If LifeLock has concluded that Maynard Jr. shouldn't be an employee or officer of LifeLock, why would it continue to use Maynard Jr.'s services and why would it continue to allow him to be an owner?
What is even more troubling is that LifeLock is apparently going to use Maynard Jr. as a "marketing consultant," when it was Maynard Jr.'s marketing lies that got it into trouble in the first place. If LifeLock and Todd Davis were reputable and cared anything about the truth, they would force Maynard Jr. to sell his stock, stop Maynard Jr. from making money from his lies, and completely disassociate him from LifeLock. What is that old saying about "birds of a feather"?
A more humorous note is that another of LifeLock's marketing campaigns has gone awry. As anyone who has been to LifeLock's Web page knows, Todd Davis posts his Social Security number on the site because he is so confident in LifeLock's services. Well, Todd Davis recently had his identity stolen by a thief using Davis' Social Security number, and a loan was taken out in his name.
If the service can't even prevent LifeLock's CEO from having his identity stolen, then Maynard may be the least of LifeLock's problems.
Name withheld by request
Us, too: I just want to thank the writer of the story titled "Fred Flintstone" (The Bird, June 7). In it, you mentioned Robert Maynard Jr. I hope all of Phoenix reads about the slimy scumbag.
Dawn Horn, Phoenix
Leave that Phil alone: I am a frequent reader of New Times, though I resent the contempt that is often shown for Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon within your pages ("Benedict Gordon," The Bird, June 7).
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For all the things that he has done to make this city a better place for young people (who I assume make up a majority of your readership), I would think New Times would be a bit more appreciative of his leadership.
The light-rail project alone should be enough to get a shining endorsement from you. It will make this city a much more exciting place to live and work, providing a safe, easy way to navigate through the city's cultural and entertainment centers. Not to mention that Gordon was also instrumental in getting an ASU campus constructed in downtown Phoenix.
I just don't understand how you can be so critical of Gordon and yet so supportive of his incredibly inexperienced opponent, Jarrett Maupin. Maupin is so inexperienced that he sent out a press release celebrating his 20th birthday that had misspelled words in it.
Sure, Maupin is young and ambitious and (supposedly) idealistic, but could he achieve the great accomplishments and policy successes of Phil Gordon? It takes more than just being young and loud to speak for young people. To me, Gordon's actions speak much louder.
Steven Slugocki, Phoenix