Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Boy Rich Burden, YouTube Beer Boaster

Commander Rich Burden, discussing the merits of drinking, then driving

As District IV Commander, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Rich Burden oversees areas of Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree, New River, and Desert Foothills.

Over the years, he has earned a measure of infamy for dogging longtime Arpaio foes Jim Cozzolino and Tom Bearup, and for taking a chin-check from ex-Phoenix Coyotes left wing Brad May, at the erstwhile Cat Eye Lounge in Scottsdale.

From that sock to the jaw, Burden scored a tidy little purse of $26K in 2005 from a lawsuit against the hockey pro. 

More recently, the Arpaio loyalist and onetime pal of former MCSO-enforcer Chief Deputy David Hendershott may have given himself a roundhouse right to the noggin, via a video recently posted on YouTube.

In that video, a do-rag-wearin' Burden sucks on some "Colorado Kool-Aid" (aka, Coors Light) while hamming it up for the camera. As he's drinking in a wooded area he identifies as being near Mount Shasta, California, he makes an odd pronouncement -- for a cop -- concerning the joys of alcohol.

"I am not drinking and driving, at all," Burden tells the camera. "I drink, then drive."

Seems no one parties like an MCSO commander.

I e-mailed Burden about his YouTube appearance, and this is how he replied.

"I am glad you have brought this video in question to my attention, I have removed it and it was a mistake to have been put on my [Facebook] wall or profile. It was an error and shouldn't have been posted and [was] an oversight on my part, thank you."

Being a devotee of the bottled muse myself, whatever her form, it might seem hypocritical of me to take Burden to task for his statements. 

On the flip side, I'm not charged with apprehending drunken drivers. 

In a legitimate law enforcement agency, such tomfoolery might get you disciplined. But the MCSO is hardly a legitimate law enforcement agency. 

So Burden likely has nothing to fear. Heck, knowing the MCSO, after this, he might be up for a raise and/or promotion.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons