Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sheriff Arpaio Under Federal Investigation

The man FOX network dubbed America’s toughest sheriff, and perhaps the last true 20th century style big city political boss, Arizona’s Sheriff Joseph Arpaio according to reliable reports, is the focus of a multi faceted federal investigation.
Till recently “Boss” Arpaio wielded influence in local and state politics comparable to other historical political figures like Chicago’s Richard J. Daley and Missouri’s Tom Prendergast.

The nearly eighty year old Arpaio, ever addicted to limelight and publicity apparently declined to get out of politics while the getting was good. He now faces the music for what critics claim is more than a decade of documented abuse, financial irregularity and in some cases out right murder. A litany of political and criminal villainy ignored by the Bush Justice department and suppressed by State officials and loyalist Judges who were products of the Arpaio political machine.
There was a time in Arizona when even Governors cow towed to sheriff Joe, and politicians who made the mistake of rousing his sore displeasure, found themselves in his jail facing trumped up charges. Their careers destroyed long before their supposed crimes faded from the front page of the Arizona Republic or local fox news affiliate and were dismissed by the courts.

The Sheriff is still beloved by a large majority of neo conservatives who call Phoenix home and use the appropriate code words and political speak to express their pride in being mighty white, but in recent years the influx of people from other parts of the country has made Phoenix the Nation’s 5th largest metropolitan area and changed the balance of power. The Sheriffs grip is no longer absolute and the 2006 midterms saw his handpicked congressional delegation fall apart.

While no single event in particular is responsible for the decline in Sheriff Arpaio’s political fortunes, a multiplicity of bungled publicity stunts attempted by the sheriff to get back on top, combined with the return to a rule of law at the federal level is creating a snowball effect of negative consequence. The snowball first drew national attention when sheriff Arpaio arrested a couple reporters for negative articles. To his surprise the Sheriff discovered he wasn’t actually allowed to put people in jail for writing stories he disliked.

Then the democrats who had won both the Attorney General and Governors office said something to offend him, which resulted in one of his famous press conferences where he announced he had been conducting another of his super double top secret investigations into political corruption and the attorney general was the target. Unlike past publicity stunts where the politician named would eventually be perp walked before the press, the attorney general called his own news conference to more or less chuckle, saying his office would no longer be taking calls from the Sheriff much less responding to his silly behavior.

That event seemed to open the flood gates, other elected officials and Mayors began to openly oppose the sheriff who responded by conducting midnight raids at city halls of mayors who spoke ill of as is Joes habit to refer to himself in the third person, the office of sheriff.

Unfortunately while the image of dozens of black hooded deputies armed to the teeth invading city hall’s across the valley played well to his base and the local fox affiliate, it didn’t go over so well with everyone else. Now the Justice department in democratic control is looking into year’s worth of complaints about abuse, civil rights violations and suspicious “death while in custody incidents.”

In the run up to the Presidential election, sheriff Arpaio gambled he could cultivate the immigration debate into some serious local and National political capitol. He began staging what amounted to massive armed occupations of poor and mostly Spanish neighborhoods in Phoenix and surrounding cities. His army of deputies and “volunteers” he calls the sheriff’s posse, people given uniforms, badges and in some cases guns, now assist him in enforcing immigration policy.

While ample video and first person accounts detail a couple thousand incidents where the civil rights of Americans are being openly violated by the sheriff and his supporters simply because they have brown skin, It has yet to deter Arpaio who claims he is answerable only to the voters who elected him. The raids still play well with the locals he calls on to help keep Phoenix safe from the brown horde, but I speculate by this time next year, the sheriff will be hoping the federal pool from which his jury will be selected, does not have any of the brown looking folks his volunteers profiled and stopped under color of authority to prove they were in this country Legally.

That’s my view yours may be different

Another Man Dies After Being Tasered


A man running naked in the street has died after he was shocked with a stun gun by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies.

Deputy Keith Ho says deputies answered a disturbance call in suburban Lakewood at about 10:15 p.m. Saturday.

The deputies saw a man running naked in the street and acting irate. Ho says deputies tried to calm the man but he remained belligerent. When he advanced toward the deputies, Ho says they hit him with pepper spray and a taser electric stun gun.

Ho says after the man was handcuffed, deputies realized he wasn't breathing. They began CPR and paramedics were called but the man was pronounced dead at a hospital.

His identity hasn't been released.

The death is under investigation.


Other Information:

Sheriff Being Overzealous about Possible Minor Drug Charge Against Phelps


Even if a South Carolina sheriff is successful in building a marijuana case against swimming superstar Michael Phelps, it might be hard to make the charges stick, defense attorneys say.

The case took a turn Thursday when lawyers for two people said their clients were among eight arrested last week and questioned at length about the November party near the University of South Carolina where Phelps was photographed smoking from a marijuana pipe. At the time, the men were renters at the house.

The effort to prosecute Phelps on what would be at most a minor drug charge seem extreme compared to similar cases, lawyers said, and have led some to question whether the sheriff is being overzealous because he's dealing with a celebrity.

"The efforts that are being made here are unlike anything I've ever seen before," said Jack Swerling, a defense attorney in South Carolina. "I know Leon Lott, I know him to be an honorable guy. I've known him for 30 something years. But the efforts here are extraordinary on simple possession cases."

After the photo was Phelps was published Feb. 1, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said his office would investigate and possibly charge Phelps, though officials have not specified what the offense might be. Since then, authorities have released little information, and the sheriff's department refused to talk again Thursday.

Lott has made fighting drug crimes a central plank of his career. He rose from patrol officer to captain of the narcotics division in the early 1990s and was well-known in the county for wearing stylish suits like the drug agents on "Miami Vice" and driving a Porsche seized from a drug dealer. He was elected sheriff in 1996.

Lawyers for the two men say they were questioned almost exclusively about Phelps and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Authorities haven't contacted the swimmer, who issued an apology for his behavior earlier this month, one of his agents said.

"Michael has not been contacted and we are not going to speculate," said agent Drew Johnson.

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian and fellow defense attorney Joseph MuCulloch said deputies searched at least two houses. The men told their lawyers the raids went down like a major drug bust, and 12 deputies burst into the home with guns drawn, pulling small amounts of marijuana from those arrested. Several computers and storage devices were also seized, Harpootlian said.

The lawyers did not release the names of their clients, but Harpootlian said that his client didn't even see Phelps smoke marijuana at the party. McCulloch said his client was out of town, and only lived at the home when the party happened. Both men have since moved.

"After they arrested him, they didn't ask him where did you get the marijuana or who sold it to you. Almost all the questions they asked him were about Michael Phelps," Harpootlian said. He added: "It was like they were busting the biggest heroin distributor in the country."

The investigators appear to be trying to build a case against Phelps from others — a tactic normally used to bring down drug dealers with a large amounts of cocaine or methamphetamine, not someone who smoked marijuana five months ago, said Chip Price, a Greenville attorney who has dealt with drug cases for 33 years.

"Never have I seen anything like this on a simple marijuana case," Price said.

McCulloch, who said his client was out of town at the time, doubted that anything his client told authorities would assist them in the case against Phelps.

"It seems to me that Richland County has a host of its own crime problems much more serious than a kid featured in a photograph with a bong in his hand," he said.

Investigators don't need to have the marijuana Phelps may have had that night to make a case against him, although the lack of physical evidence makes things a lot tougher. They will need several witnesses saying they were at the party, smoked marijuana in that pipe and saw Phelps smoke it too, said Swerling.

There's one more problem with the case, too. Even if Phelps is charged, authorities may not be able to get him back to South Carolina to face a judge. State law only allows extradition for charges that carry more than a year in prison — and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor that carries 30 days in jail for first offenders.

Phelps lives and trains in Baltimore, and if Richland County authorities were serious about hauling him in on a misdemeanor drug charge, city police would be willing to help, said Col. John Skinner, chief of patrol for the department.

But if Phelps were arrested in Baltimore, it would be up to South Carolina to extradite him. Prosecutors sometimes decide against bringing defendants in from out of state to face minor charges, Skinner said.

"Is the charge serious enough in that primary jurisdiction for them to spend the time and resources to go and bring that person into custody? That's not a decision I could make on their part," Skinner said.


Leave this boy alone!! How much more stupid can the laws become? I'm sure smoking a little amount of pot didn't improve his performance, so why the fuck are they talking about taking away his metals? It's been proven that OVER HALF the population has tried marijuana at some time in their lives. We have Presidents that have openly admitted to smoking some bud at some point in their lives... and they haven't been charged with any crime!! It's time to change some of these outdated laws and make minor possession, such as this, a non-arrestable offense.