Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Deputy Charley Armendariz Implicated MCSO "Command Staff," Says Activist Lydia Guzman

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The MCSO has not yet released Armendariz's full personnel file, including details of all disciplinary actions taken against him.

However, Maricopa County keeps a record of part of MCSO employees' personnel files, including annual reviews.

In 2007, Armendariz's review mentions "several citizen complaints" against him, as well as a "serious policy violation."

The 2008 review also mentions "citizen complaints" against Armendariz. In 2010, it's noted he received "fewer complaints," though that report also dings him for "a written reprimand regarding a missing report that was initiated at Chase field."

The 2011 evaluation notes a "sharp decline" in civilian complaints, and observes that, "Charley also now audio and video records all of his traffic stops."

A 2012 review notes that, "Charley still does get some citizen complaints," though supposedly they were not as frequent.

This 2012 evaluation also observes that Armendariz "continues to video and audio record all of his stops," and mentions dash cam footage of one stop.

These reviews are signed off on by several levels of supervisors, including, at the very top, for the last couple of years, Deputy Chief David Trombi.

Was Armendariz the average MCSO deputy? Are such complaints run of the mill for other MCSO employees, particularly for members of the Human Smuggling Unit?

In a May 14 hearing before Snow, Sheridan admitted that there was widespread audio- and videotaping ongoing among MCSO personnel, via dash cams, body cams, and audio recorders.

This, in apparent violation of a litigation hold placed on all such records years ago, early in the Melendres suit.

In 2010, the MCSO was sanctioned by the court for not turning over documents related to traffic stops and sweeps, and for shredding these documents.

And yet the MCSO blithely continued to ignore the litigation hold as it pertained to videotaping by Armendariz and other deputies, taping that the court and plaintiffs in Melendres were unaware of.

Just as it blithely overlooked "citizen complaints" in regard to Armendariz.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons