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The Battle of Bell Rd., Part Deux: Mayor Phil Gordon blasts Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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See anything interesting about this MCSO vehicle?

Hmmm...maybe them deputies ain't all bad...

The battle of Bell Road ended abruptly last night, around 8:30 p.m., when the MCSO called it quits, bringing to an end the most contentious of the Sheriff's anti-immigrant sweeps. The Sheriff told other reporters present that they wouldn't be back today, as they had only planned to be out for two days at Bell and Cave Creek Roads, beginning Thursday night.

However, the quick end to the operation had the feel of a retreat. Once again, the MCSO had been met by an angry crowd of demonstrators, slightly smaller than the one of 700 that gathered Thursday night. There were no PHX cops around, and a slightly-larger contingent of pro-Joe counter-demonstrators was present. Though the two sides were separated by barricades, insults and waterbottles were thrown by both sides. One bottle-tosser from the anti-Joe crowd was arrested. And the tension between the two camps was in the pre-riot stage. The MCSO's decision to pack up quickly deflated the situation.

In the weirdest incident of the eve, this Anglo dood showed up with a shotgun strapped to his back. Folks told me he first came onto the lot without the shotgun and asked if Joe was there. When he was told Arpaio wasn't around, he left, then returned with the shotgun. The anti-Joe side informed the MCSO, and they took him into custody. No indication of which side he was on, if any. He just seemed like a nut.

The Arizona Republic awoke from its slumber and finally covered the donnybrook on the front page of today's paper, reporting on Mayor Phil Gordon's speech lambasting Joe at the Cesar Chavez luncheon on Friday. The address was a surprising one, especially coming from Gordon, who has hardly been known for his political vertebrae. Gordon said, in part:

"Last night, the Sheriff communicated with the law enforcement professionals of our community like he communicates with most everyone by issuing a press release. He announced that his 200 volunteer posse members would be migrating north to crack down on illegal aliens. `Migrating North.' That's the phrase he used -- intentionally mocking the language of the hard-working migrant workers who we honor and celebrate today. He says he's doing this because 10 business owners -- including a pawn shop and a biker store -- asked him to. And who helped circulate those 10 signatures to deliver to the Sheriff? A self-described neo-Nazi."

You can read the entire speech, here. In actuality, there were only eight signatures from eight businesses, and the petition was the brain child of alleged public urinator Buffalo Rick Galeener. Technically, Galeener is not a neo-Nazi, though he is a bigot. A fine point, I know, but one worth making. His group, United for a Sovereign America has accepted neo-Nazis into its ranks, but Buffalo isn't one of them. Could a neo-Nazi have helped him out with the petition? It's possible, I reckon. However, I suspect that the Mayor's facts were off a smidgen in this case.

The Sheriff promised to take his anti-immigrant dragnets to other parts of town. Considering the near-riot they inspired this time around, you've gotta wonder who would welcome this idiot to their neighborhood. The events of this week have shown that our Sheriff is a menace to public safety, not a protector of it.

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