The extent to which the media rolls over for Sheriff Joe Arpaio never ceases to astound.
Take Joe's recent comments following an August 17 incident in the desert, where Glendale resident and self-identifying "militia minuteman" Richard Malley allegedly pointed an AR-15 at an MCSO deputy.
The incident is described in the probable cause form (see below) for Malley's arrest for aggravated assault, which also indicates that Malley, 49, lives with his mother.
Additionally, the box indicating whether Malley is employed is unchecked,
Malley's out on bail. Ironically, cleaning ladies busted by Sheriff Joe's deputies for working while undocumented can't make bail, due to Arizona's Prop 100 and overcharging by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's office. But that's another story.
Arpaio told the Associated Press that, if the minutemen keep this up, "there could be some dead militia out there," and that Malley's "lucky he didn't see 30 rounds fired into him."
The geezer lawman also expressed concern over ordinary citizens "taking the law into their own hands."
Predictably, the media regurgitated this Clint Eastwood-wannabe blather without noting that Arpaio has been in bed with what remains of the minuteman movement, as well as the entire nativist movement, for several years now.Part one of a pseudo snuff film, reportedly shot by "Mountain Minuteman" Robert Crooks
Arpaio has accepted awards (yes, more than one) from alleged child molester Chris Simcox, once leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, with whom Joe long maintained a political alliance.
Malley is a nobody in minuteman circles. Not so one of the other two men out with him the night of the incident -- Robert "Lil' Dog" Crooks.
Crooks has his own group, dubbed the Mountain Minutemen.
When it comes to Arpaio, Crooks has expressed support for the sheriff previously on his Facebook account. When I contacted him recently, he told me he was in Yuma, and didn't have time to talk.
On the date of the Malley incident, Crooks posted a message to his FB account, stating that,
"At 13:00 hrs two Maricopa County sheriffs visited...They asked me if I was armed: "I said: yes, I was"; They said: "GOOD" and left..............."[sic]
Malley supposedly had his run in with the deputy later that evening.
In 2007, Crooks courted infamy with two videos purporting to show a nativist shooting at illegal immigrants (otherwise known as "human beings").
The second actually resembles a pseudo snuff film.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Crooks emailed the first out to other minutemen, writing, "This video shows how to keep a 'Home Depot' parking lot empty."
Crooks initially denied that he had either made or posted these pseudo snuff films. Later, he owned up to creating them.
"Who in their right mind is going to shoot a smuggler, videotape it, then post it to YouTube?" he asked a San Diego TV station at the time.The first version of the Crooks video
The Crooks videos have been the subject of much speculation, but I don't buy them as actual snuff films.
Though he may seem like a marginal character, Crooks has been interviewed as a sort of nativist spokesman by the media more than once, most recently in a June interview with Channel 5/KPHO.
Childress, who used to run a car dealership in Phoenix begun by his daddy, was at one time the leader of United for a Sovereign America, a local nativist group which mainly exists these days as a website.
After a hiatus from public life, Childress re-emerged this year with this new group of the same dozen or so die-hard Mexican-haters who have been active in the Valley for years.
Remember 1986 has held a couple of demonstrations in recent months, one outside the Phoenix office of U.S. Senator John McCain, with recalled, disgraced former state Senate President Russell Pearce in attendance.
That protest was disrupted by local anarchists, which is pretty funny, considering that Pearce likes to label anyone who disagrees with his noxious nativism as an "open borders anarchist."
Another Remember 1986 demonstration took place near Gila Bend where the natvists all camped outside together in the 110-degree heat.
One of those participating was Crooks, who actually ended up getting more time on camera during the Channel 5 segment than anyone else associated with this crew, including Childress.
National socialist Harry Hughes, a former compadre of infamous Arizona neo-Nazi and mass murderer J.T. Ready, also took part in the Remember 1986 camp-out.
Hughes actually mentions his participation in the event on his blog "Just another day..." I called him and he told me that he did indeed hook up with the nativists that weekend,
"To be honest, I was kind of surprised they let me in," he confided. "Barb Heller was there, and she wasn't exactly a big fan of JT's."
Heller is a grizzled nativist biker chick and an obsessed fan of Sheriff Joe. She once featured a pic of herself on her FB page in a halter top, with the words "Go Joe" written on her wrinkled cleavage.
(Interestingly, Childress' old group United for a Sovereign America was also a lodestone for extremists, such as Ready, and old-time neo-Nazi Elton Hall, who participated in U.S.A meetings and demonstrations.)
Hughes is acquainted with Crooks, and there are photos of Crooks and Hughes on the former's FB page, while on patrol together in the desert.
I'll say one thing for Hughes over the run-of-the-mill nativist: At least he's not a hypocrite. And he's far more civil.
Nativists such as Childress share many of the same views as Hughes, but they try to hide it.Brandy Barron, part of the Rusty Childress crowd and a huge Arpaio supporter, tells you what she really thinks around 4:26 in
However, as videographer Dennis Gilman has documented over and over again, when riled, the nativists can't help but express an inner bloodthirstiness.
This nativist daisy-chain has been fertilized abundantly by Sheriff Joe.
The incident involving Malley allegedly pointing his AR at an MCSO deputy is a perfect example of blowback, an unintended consequence of Arpaio's turn to the hard right on immigration circa 2005/2006.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In 2005 Arpaio actually criticized vigilante Patrick Haab for holding a group of illegal aliens at gunpoint.
Then County Attorney Andy Thomas, who was disbarred in 2012, declined to pursue charges against Haab and became an instant celeb among the nativists.
That's when a bulb went on in Arpaio's desiccated noggin.
A bulb that, alas, burns still.