The Arizona Republic seems to be taking a more aggressive stance lately against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Case in point: Its big Sunday story about the sheriff by Dan Nowicki entitled, (in the print edition) "Show of Force," with a headline on the jump page reading, "Foes say sheriff going too far." The online version has harder-hitting headline: "Critics call Arpaio aggressive, intimidating."
Though not comprehensive (it would take a book to cover all 15 years), Nowicki's piece hits many of the shameful highlights of the sheriff's penchant for nailing his political opponents with trumped-up criminal investigations. To get a richer flavor of the sheriff's antics over his five terms in office, we shamelessly encourage you to peruse our own files.
Nowicki digs deep into the past with a 70s-era squabble between Arpaio and the former head of the local DEA office, Phil Jordan. He dredges up low moments in law enforcement history like the arrest of Nick Tarr. He quotes a former Fountain Hills mayor who says Arpaio "should be in jail." He points out the political undertones of the investigations into Attorney General Terry Goddard, County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and the city of Mesa's cleaning crew. The accompanying timeline and "notable conflicts" sidebar stuffs in a few more of the foibles, like the failed attack on New Times and its readers.
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Naturally, we think the Repub could have leaned a bit harder into the pitch. We were especially disappointed it didn't mention the dirty deeds of the SCA. But the story got the job done. We imagine the newspaper will have more trouble getting information from the sheriff's office, for at least the next few weeks.
Was the impending publication of this piece the ulterior reason for Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott's scoop to New Times last week that the Arizona Republic was possibly involved in suspicious dealings with the county? We don't know, though we're happy we derailed that part of the investigation through our own inquiries, since there was apparently nothing to it.
Nothing to it... Except the timing of the release of that tidbit of gossip helps make the Republic's point.