When Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu agreed to go on Fox 10 News last night to answer questions about the shooting of Deputy Louie Puroll -- raised in the current issue of New Times -- he probably thought something similar to what we thought: TV news will throw a few softballs that'll be easy to crush out of the park. That is, the slick Babeu (the new, telegenic version of Joe Arpaio) would shuck and jive his way out of answering tough questions.
This was not the case.
Babeu made a lot of claims in an interview with Fox 10's John Hook last night, including calling New Times a "conspiracy-theory newspaper." Hook was quick to our defense.
In the middle of Babeu's snide remark, Hook interrupted to say, "In New Times' defense, Sheriff Babeu, they have done some of the best journalism in this town over the years. I mean, they've broken some big, big stories."
Check out the video after the jump.
The questions raised in Paul Rubin's latest opus, "Pinalcchio," have made a lot of headlines since publication last Thursday. The story led the newscast of every local TV news outlet last night.
Meanwhile, Babeu's spent the last week defending his deputy and questioning the findings of world-renowned forensics experts who determined Puroll's story doesn't add up.
As you can see in the video, Hook wasn't lettin' Babeu off for his criticism of the experts, either. When Babeu tried to downplay the experts' significance, Hook stepped in to remind the sheriff that "these guys are not hacks."
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Babeu announced yesterday that he's reopening the investigation into the shooting and turning over the shirt Puroll was wearing at the time of the shooting to the Department of Public Safety to check for gunpowder residue -- something he should have done in the first place. He feels it will clear the deputy's name. As Rubin pointed out yesterday, that's not necessarily the case.
From Rubin's post:
There's no telling if the deputy was wearing another shirt (probably a long-sleeved, per department regulations, while patrolling in the desert) over the teeshirt when the shooting occurred,
Photos of Deputy Puroll taken after the incident show no scratches, bruises, cuts, or even dirt marks on either of his arms. Forensics experts tell us that there surely would have been some sign of minor injuries to his exposed arms based on Puroll's own account to detectives of almost constantly moving, crawling, staying low, and generally hunkering down in the Vekol Valley desert for more than an hour after calling 911.
In any event, big ups to John Hook for holding Babeu's feet to the fire.