As mentioned in a previous blog post, at Saturday's Walk for Respect to Joe Arpaio's Tent City, I spoke with neo-Nazis J.T. Ready and "Vito Lombardi," both of whom were throwing up the sieg heil sign as they verbally attacked the marchers passing by on Durango Street. They told me that Joe had stopped by earlier and spoken with each of them. Ready said Arpaio called him by his initials "J.T.," and Lombardi bragged of getting a photo with the sheriff. But I held off on reporting this until I got some sort of confirmation.
Sheriff Joe stops by to say, "Hi," to the neo-Nazis about 4:48 in (video by Lynne Stevens, aka, Jackie 40d)
Well, confirmation came today, as spotted by activist Carlos Garcia of the civil rights group Puente. Seems United for a Sovereign America member Lynne Stevens, aka, "Jackie 40d," has what appears to be footage of Arpaio stopping by the neo-Nazis, exchaging pleasantries with them, and allowing them to take pictures. (J.T. was actually further down with a gaggle of nativists when this particular scene transpired, so I can't verify if Joe called him by name.) National Socialist Movement member Lombardi scores a personal photograph with the sheriff after telling him, "We've got your back." The sheriff (it definitely sounds like his voice) advises the neo-Nazis (and Stevens) that the marchers are about an hour away. The only prob is that in the video, Arpaio is in the shadows.
A video from Carlos Garcia of Puente on Joe's ties to the neo-Nazis
Then today, Lombardi threw up his pic with "America's Toughest Sheriff" on Stormfront.org, the online, white supremacist message board. Though Arpaio is in the dark, you can make out his face.
"About an hour before the reds and the Mexicans marched by us," recounts Lombardi in the Stormfront post, "our Sheriff came by to thank and say hello to his supporters. He stopped first by where the NSM members and JT Ready were standing. I, Vito Lombardi even got a full uniform shot with the Sheriff."
Lombardi continues: "When the reds and the illegal scum marched by us. [sic] Me, JT and Harry exploded with emotion, it was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. We 3 were on the front lines, and were the first people the communist scum saw. We even stopped the march because the communists were in such disgust of us standing on the Mexican flag, and giving our honorable salute. I had a great time at this rally."
No doubt the pic helped make Lombardi's day. And they say ol' Joe doesn't have a heart...
Lombardi's account was bolstered by neo-Nazi Harry, aka, "Vandal," whose Yahoo blog had this to say:
"Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the world's toughest sheriff, stopped by along with his security detail and I said hello, exchanged a few comments and took his picture."
If our eyes are to be believed, why is a top law enforcement official giving the time of day to a bunch of neo-Nazis, much less photo ops and info on protesters? Not that Joe hasn't hobnobbed with goosesteppers before. Back in 2008, Sheriff Joe spoke before a crowd of United for a Sovereign America members. U.S.A. has allowed neo-Nazis to join its group, and on the evening Joe spoke, old-time Arizona neo-Nazi Elton Hall was present, cheering him on.
Is Arpaio so desperate for attention and support that he needs Hitler-worshippers in his camp? When I challenged Joe on meeting with U.S.A. back in 2008, he blustered that he talks to "everybody." I got the same response from his top flack Lisa Allen. Seems there's no shame in their game. Even when it comes to Arpaio rubbing shoulders with swastika-lovers.
(For the record, I called Arpaio for comment using his home number. The first time, his wife answered, and said Joe wouldn't be back till later. The second time, I got their voice mail. I left a message for Joe about the photo, asking for his comment. He has yet to call me back.)