Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon came out swinging at Sheriff Joe last week, demanding that he renounce his neo-Nazi fan base in light of the Holocaust Museum shooting. Phoenix New Times Reports:
In a response to the tragedy today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum where 88-year-old white supremacist James von Brunn allegedly opened fire killing a security guard before being severely wounded himself, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called on Sheriff Joe Arpaio to distance himself from his neo-Nazi and racist supporters.
“I’m calling upon the sheriff of Maricopa County to denounce the neo-Nazis and the Nazis today,” said Gordon during a press conference this afternoon.”Not that I believe that the sheriff is a Nazi or a neo-Nazi. Let me be very clear, he has given the sense of recognition to the neo-Nazis and Nazis that he’s associated with.”
In a statement later released by Gordon’s office, Gordon cited several incidents where Sheriff Arpaio has interacted with extremist nativists, neo-Nazis, and groups that accept neo-Nazis into their ranks. Specifically, the Mayor cited reports that have appeared in this blog and in my recent cover story, Ja, Joe!, which detailed the various links between Arpaio and extremist groups such as United for a Sovereign America, as well as his recent photo op with former National Socialist Movement member Thomas Coletto, alias, “Vito Lombardi.”
In other Arpaio news, a former school superintendent is suing Sheriff Joe and other local politicians after he sent a SWAT team to search her house (including 3 helicopters) and charged her with 25 criminal counts. This was all in an effort to intimidate her after she complained about school funding. Yikes.
The superintendent claims “The Sheriff and his MCSO have earned a reputation for using criminal investigations to intimidate political opposition.” Former Maricopa County Superintendent of Schools Sandra Dowling sued the Board of Supervisors and Arpaio over the January 2006 search warrant executed on her home by a SWAT team and the succeeding indictment. She claims they tipped off the media ahead of time so they could provide live coverage of the searches.
Arpaio is also being sued by a Muslim jail officer who claims that he was fired by the Sheriff’s office because of religious discrimination. The man was initially told he could keep his full-length beard, but once Joe got a look at him, he was told to shave his beard or lose his job. Sounds like Joe and the Sheriff’s office are spending a lot of time defending themselves these days. Wonder who is footing the legal bills?