Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to have an obsession with trying to get the public to believe that his life is in constant danger.
And no matter how many times Arpaio cries wolf about the latest "death threat," there never seems to be any intent of legitimate harm against the elderly, publicity-hungry sheriff. Check out 10 of the most bogus death threats Arpaio has cried about:
After postal inspectors found a package with powder, wires, and a battery addressed to Arpaio, his chief deputy explained -- without any hint of evidence -- that it's "very much like cartels" to do something like this. The deputy referred to this as "an actual explosive device," which all sounded oh-so-credible when he explained, "I'm not making this up." Arpaio explained that his "good sources" indicated a cartel connection. We're more inclined to believe our source, who called it "not a very sophisticated device" and said it's not clear whether any explosion would have occurred at all.
Back in the day, it seemed as though someone who worked at the White Powder factory just sent letters to Arpaio's office every day. Wouldn't ya know? After all those letters, not a single one had anthrax. Seriously -- zero. However, Arpaio would order up the press release every time and assess blame for the letters as he saw fit.
Once upon a time, some guy posted on Facebook, "He should see the color of his skin and where he comes from . . . stupid motherfucker . . . let's kill him. I will kill him for free. I am going to Arizona to kill that asshole." MCSO "investigators" stumbled across this on the "People Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio" Facebook page. The guy was charged with a misdemeanor, a testament to how serious his threat was.
Just last month, a man voiced his urge to blow Arpaio's head clean off. Not that he's going to -- he just wants to. "I want to personally blow Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's head off," the man posted on Twitter. Clearly, Arpaio's life was in imminent danger after a guy in California posted that tweet. Arpaio's press release claimed deputies were off to California to look for the man, but they apparently didn't search too hard, since they never arrested the guy.
A delusional man in Tennessee once wrote on some online forums that Satan "ordered" him to kill "birthers" to spark a war between political parties in order to decrease the population in America. Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, Michael Savage, and Arpaio all had to die, the man wrote. Clearly, this is a very serious death threat against Arpaio, according to the delusional county sheriff. The man was sentenced to probation, with mental-health terms.
A website that glorified killing police had a picture of Arpaio that said, "You're Next, Joe -- watch your back, bitch!" This "death threat" was made from a man's home in Oregon, and although his house was raided, he wasn't even arrested in this one.
Once upon a time, a confidential informant told MCSO about an elaborate plot to assassinate Arpaio. Despite the fact that the informant didn't do so well in the lie-detector test, MCSO spent $500,000 to "investigate" this imaginary assassination plot, which later ended up as fodder in Arpaio's book. "The conspiracy that I wrote about in Chapter One remains an open case," Arpaio's book says.
There's never been a shred of proof that a Mexican drug cartel is targeting Arpaio. The only potential evidence that this bounty exists was from a report from the local Fox affiliate in 2010, about a text-message equivalent of a chain e-mail, claiming there was a $1 million bounty from the Juarez Cartel for Arpaio -- note that Juarez is nowhere near Arizona, let alone Maricopa County -- and also offering $1,000 if you want to join the cartel. If you believe that, then we know a rich Nigerian prince who needs your help.
Just last week, someone offered to take that imaginary cartel bounty. A man who describes himself as mentally ill in online comments also made a comment on a YouTube video, saying he's "going to be taking them up" on the bounty, saying he and his "boys" have weapons. This also qualifies as a "death threat."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Who better to stage an assassination plot against Sheriff Joe Arpaio than his own deputies? The MCSO did a very convincing job in trying to get an 18-year-old involved in its plot, and it helped the young man put the bomb together. Although Arpaio got his made-for-TV moment out of it, the man earned a settlement from the county for his troubles.