Arpaio Does U-Turn, Heads to Fountain Hills for Meeting on Hate Crimes


Sheriff Joe Arpaio is so concerned about recent hate crimes in his hometown of Fountain Hills, he decided to cancel a trip to Tucson today for a planned speech.

The weird part is that he posted a message on his Twitter account at about 3 p.m. today that he was actually on his way to Tucson when the notion struck him to head back to the east Valley. As the tweet above shows, Arpaio claims he "turned my car around" to head back because the hate crimes case is "way more important to me." Guess it wasn't as important when he started the drive to Tucson...

Even weirder: Lindsey Smith, a spokeswoman for Arpaio, sent out a news release to the media this afternoon at about 2:30 p.m. -- apparently before Arpaio turned his car around -- that stated the sheriff would have an important announcement to make tonight at the meeting in Fountain Hills:



Sheriff Arpaio will have a very important announcement at tonight's town hall meeting in the City of Fountain Hills. The meeting is set for 5:30 PM.

Deputy Lindsey Smith

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Media Relations-Spokeswoman

MEETING INFO from Town of Fountain Hills web site:

Gathering of Support

Sep 09, 2009

Mayor Jay Schlum is inviting Fountain Hills residents to show support to the victims and solidarity as a community in the face of two recent hate crimes through a town-wide gathering tomorrow evening. For information on these two crimes, please click the links below:

What: Gathering of Support


Town of Fountain Hills Community Center Lobby

13001 La Montana Drive

Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

When: Wednesday, September 9, 2009: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Who: Fountain Hills residents


Mayor Jay Schlum, Fountain Hills

Pastor Steve Bergeson, Ministerial Association

Bill Myhr, Superintendent of Fountain Hills Unified School District

Rabbi Earl S. Starr, Congregation Beth Havigot

Michelle Jaber, Victim of the most recent crime

C.T. Wright, Vice-president of Fountain Hills School Board

Captain John Kleinheinz, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Former Mayor Wally Nichols, Fountain Hills

As the Fountain Hills write-up shows, Captain Kleinheinz had originally been scheduled to represent the sheriff's office. So what changed this afternoon that made Arpaio do a u-turn?

We imagine one of his aides told him -- somewhat belatedly -- that it didn't look good for the sheriff to ignore this meeting, especially when he's been accused of going too easy on the KKK members and neo-Nazis who love him.

UPDATE: The sheriff's office arrested three teens in connection with the racially charged vandalism.

It looks like Sheriff Arpaio may have received word of the arrests and decided to abort the trip to Tucson to make the announcement himself. It's not clear when the boys were arrested, but the local Fox News affiliate somehow found out when to be at the jail to film the "perp walk."

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.