Arpaio's Running Scared

Hey Joe, why are you hiding from me?

Are you scared?

Seems "the toughest sheriff in America" should have nothing to fear from me. All I've got is a pen, a notepad and a couple of hundred questions.

You've got an army of deputies equipped with machine guns, tanks, wiretaps and torture devices -- such as the restraint chairs that your hoodlums in the jail use to suffocate troublesome detainees.

If you're such a he-man, why won't you respond to my numerous public records requests seeking jail financial documents?

If you're such a bad-ass, why not cut loose the incident reports on the latest death in the jail, as your bitch Glen Campbell prepared to blow you by taking the stage the other night inside Tent City for a 30-minute concert for inmates that made, um, news everywhere?

What were the circumstances surrounding the death of 38-year-old Charles Edward Ward, who died from a ruptured blood vessel in his head?

Ward reportedly collapsed in a shower -- an area of the jail that's infamous for fights because there are no cameras.

Was Ward another in a long list of beating victims inside your gulag? Or did he just have one of your patented "accidents"?

If you're such an upstanding guy -- somebody who claims to hide nothing from the public -- then why won't you show us the rest of your real estate records that you've sealed in the Maricopa County Recorder's office?

Is it because you inexplicably have $800,000 in cash locked up in three small properties?

How much more cash have you stowed away in real estate on your civil servant's salary and federal pension from the DEA?

By the way, where did you get all that cash?!

Do these questions bother you, Cash 'n' Go Joe?

Is that why you darted from me when I confronted you in a Scottsdale library parking lot on July 8 and asked why you were driving a county-owned car to a Republican Party campaign event?

"I'm not talking to you!" you whined like a little girl, as you jumped tremulously into the county's unmarked police interceptor that you'd hijacked for personal use.

You were in such a nervous hurry to get away that you had one of your celebrated keystone cops moments. You inadvertently turned on the red-and-blue flashing police lights as you backed up and finally exited the library parking lot.

I couldn't help but laugh. The fearsome Sheriff Joe was scared witless of New Times!

So much so that you later refused to allow a photographer and me to cover the concert to some of your inmates by pop-country crooner Campbell. You let every other television station and newspaper in the county inside the jail to cover this 30-minute songfest. (That DUI arrest was a godsend for Campbell, because this is about the only kind of gig he can land anymore.)

We were told by your goons that New Times -- which has been pulling down your pants and fanny-whacking your wrinkled behind for years -- wasn't welcome.

That's okay, Mighty Methuselah of Law Enforcement, we hung with work-release inmates in the parking lot and listened to the show from the back of my pickup truck. Those prisoners had plenty of stories about jailers cutting off water supplies for five hours during the heat of the day -- and about attacks by swarms of mosquitoes breeding in the ridiculous fish farm pond you had dug next to the tents.

Hey, Joe, I'm sure you've heard about mosquito-borne West Nile virus, which has killed two people in Maricopa County this year. If an inmate or two died of this, that would just be more good law-enforcement, right?

That Arpaio has resorted to blatant censorship to keep New Times at bay is no surprise.

Tinhorn dictators like the Republican sheriff always resort to such tactics. Arpaio's hidden plenty of public records from the press and attorneys suing on behalf of inmates who have died in the jail, so why not stiff-arm us and continue to refuse to comply with the Arizona Public Records Law?

This, by the way, is illegal. But the increasingly dangerous and vengeful Old Man Joe cares little about the law when it gets in the way of what he wants to do.

With New Times locked out of the jailhouse hootenanny, the 72-year-old Arpaio knew the rest of the gutless local media would give gee-whiz coverage to Campbell's song and dance. It must be nice to have son-in-law Phil Boas as deputy editorial page editor at the Arizona Republic.

The Republic certainly bent over forward for the latest Joe Show, as well. Not only was there a story and photo on the front page of the July 10 paper, but the Republic's pinhead editors felt that Campbell's concert was so important that they ran a second story and photo on the front page of the Valley section.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty