Feathered Bastard

The Joe Arpaio Brown-Noser of the Week: Sergeant Brett Palmer, and, Oh, Joe Hangs Up on Me

So I roll back into town today, happy to return to the land of low humidity, and be free from the muggy swamp of D.C. I'm hoping to have a low key day, and save the venom for another time. But then I check out this clip of MCSO Sergeant Brett Palmer and some of his fellow beige-shirted simians outside City Hall, denouncing certain elected officials (and one police chief) who are critical of their jefe Sheriff Joe Arpaio, aka, Arpayaso.

"We're telling these people in power such as Phil Gordon, Mary Rose Wilcox and Police Chief Gascon, shut up!" spat Palmer in an interview with ABC 15 news. "They're ignorant. They don't know what it is they're talking about. They don't have their facts straight."

Now, I think most everyone reading this blog will note the overwhelming irony of some low-level lump like Palmer calling his betters "ignorant." Palmer expresses himself with all the verbal dexterity and intelligence of Jon Heder in Napoleon Dynamite. Apparently Wal-Mart wasn't hiring security guards the day Palmer decided to make a career of the MCSO. And fortunately for him, an I.Q. test was not a prerequisite for joining.

I have met some MCSO deputies who are actually humane and intelligent, and there are many inside the MCSO who would like nothing better than to see Arpaio's regime corralled en masse by the feds and shipped off to Leavenworth. But Arpaio's command structure rewards incompetence, crassness, and bootlicking subservience. This is why nearly every other law enforcement entity that deals with the MCSO regards it either as a stupid joke or a dangerous joke, but a joke all the same.

All three of the leaders mentioned above have more class in their pinkies than Palmer does in his limited-capacity cranium. Interestingly, when I asked Mesa Police Chief Gascon yesterday about whether or not he considered the MCSO a professional law enforcement agency, Gascon remarked the following:

"I disagree with the way [Arpaio] does his work...I don't want to speak for the agency. I don't think he runs the agency professionally. There's a distinction. I think there are a lot of men and women who work for the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office who are very professional, dedicated police officers."

Needless to say, it doesn't look like Palmer is one of them.

On another note, I received -- totally by happenstance -- Joe Arpaio's cell phone number the other day. And since I was back in town, I wanted to ask the septuagenarian law dog about this blubbering he's been doing in the local media, kvetching that no one invited him to the big hearing this week.

So I gave him a call. And indeed, Joe did answer on the other end, saying, a bit quizzically, `Hello?"

"Hey, Joe, this is Steve Lemons...You know, the Bird?"

Long pause.

"Joe, are you there?"


I called back, figuring that the call had been dropped by the cell phone service. Surely, Joe wouldn't hang up on little ol' moi? But Joe didn't pick up. I was bummed. I wanted to ask him why, if he wanted to testify at the hearings, he had told his pals at the Arizona Republic on March 12 that he had "no intention of flying to Washington to testify."

See, if Joe really wanted to go and testify, and for some reason the majority Dems on the House Judiciary Committee didn't want to let him, the minority Republicans on the committee -- who vigorously defended Joe during the proceedings -- could have called him as a minority witness. There were minority witnesses on both panels who testified, and Joe has a friend on the committee in Arizona Republican Representative Tent Franks.

In other words, Joe could have gone, but he wussed out. Just like he did with my phone call.

Next time, the Dems on the committee should hit him with a subpoena, so Joe doesn't have this excuse that he somehow wasn't invited (even though he basically told the committee ahead of time that he would not go voluntarily).

The world is closing in on Joe Arpaio. He's a wounded animal crouching in the dark, ready to lash out. Makes you wonder how much damage he will do before he's finally brought before the bar of justice.
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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons