The Goldwater Institute takes aim at Sheriff Joe Arpaio; MCSO flack Paul Chagolla spars with KPNX.
Seems like everyone wants a piece of Sheriff Joe these days. Mayor Phil's on his case. Channel 12's after his hide. The AZ State Auditor is looking into his use of RICO funds. And of course, New Times is suing the Sheriff and County Attorney Andrew Thomas for $15 million.
Enter Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute's director of the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, who leveled both barrels at Nickel Bag Joe today in the GI's daily e-mail bulletin. The piece is innocuously titled, "Who’s in Charge? Core duties of County Sheriff’s Office should be more clearly defined," but you'd best duck while reading it lest you get burnt by the blast.
"Did the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office recent use of Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) funds to send staff members to Honduras violate the law-enforcement purposes to which such funds are limited?" asks Bolick. "Did the sheriff's highly publicized `saturation patrols'-comprised of nearly 200 deputies and "posse" members-trespass the jurisdiction of the Phoenix Police Department? The feud between the Sheriff's Office and local police departments, bereft of coordination or agreement over priorities, threatens to devolve into law enforcement anarchy."
That phrase "law enforcement anarchy" should be emblazoned on the side of every MCSO vehicle. Bolick also goes after Joe for the 70,000 warrants gone unserved, the MCSO's OT shortage, and the closing of regional booking facilities in Surprise, Avondale, and Mesa. Kudos to Bolick, He packs quite a wallop into about 250 words of copy. It should also be noted that Bolick spoke out on New Times' behalf shortly after the arrests of New Times founders Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. He very memorably wrote:
"Regardless of one's ordinary proclivities regarding the players involved, there is only one place for friends of freedom to stand at this moment: shoulder to shoulder with the New Times."
Channel 12's "Mighty Joe Young" Dana continues to do great work on the MCSO's Honduras scam. Last night he revealed that Honduras' top cop claims Joe was never given any photos from them for facial recognition, even though Joe's claimed he's scored millions of these photos, which sounded pretty bogus from jump, to be honest. You can catch the video, here.
Apparently Channel 12's gotten Joe and his PIOs all flustered. Check out this e-mail exchange between MCSO flack Paul Chagolla and 12 News/KPNX-TV President & General Manager John Misner. Chagolla cc'd several PHX media outlets in both of his responses. I guess it's cheaper than putting an ad in the paper. The question I have is, why would you advertise this stuff?
Subject: KPNX City of Glendale Police Department Inquiry
April 1, 2008
KPNX News Channel 12:
Today, I was contacted by the City of Glendale Police Department regarding an inquiry made by a KPNX employee, Mr. Joseph Dana, into an alcohol related traffic collision investigated by that agency. I was informed that Mr. Dana's purpose in making the inquiry was to have the Glendale Police Deprtment determine if the identity of the individual involved was me, Paul Chagolla. This was done despite Mr. Dana's full knowledge of the suspect's name, and was done maliciously and spitefully.
I was questioned by the Glendale Police Department about me using any aliases or names other than my given birth name.
The professional and personal smear that KPNX and Mr. Dana are now responsible for are reprehensible, disgusting, and indefensible. It is a new low for KPNX.
Why would KPNX not just inquire of me if I had been involved in such an incident? Why would Mr. Dana and KPNX be investigating me individually? It is clear KPNX is attempting to discredit me. Once again, KPNX is attempting to intimidate and retaliate against me. It is now smearing me.
KPNX is not just requesting my government personnel file for intensley representing my agency, but it has now contacted another law enforcement agency and under the guise of a public records inquiry publicly tarnished my name!
I want KPNX to know that no matter what level it stoops to, I will not be discredited.
I want KPNX understand that it has lost all credibilty as a reputable news agency with me and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. Misner, please see that Ms. Wall receives this message.
Captain Paul Chagolla
April 2, 2008
Captain Paul Chagolla
Media Relations Commander
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Dear Captain Chagolla:
Thank you for your email message, just received today, concerning a recent inquiry by KPNX reporter Joe Dana into a DUI-related traffic accident in the City of Glendale. I have reviewed the statements contained in your message, and write to set the record straight.
First, Mr. Dana's "purpose" in seeking public information was not "to have the Glendale Police Department determine" that you were involved in the accident, despite Mr. Dana's "full knowledge" of the suspect's name. Rather, Mr. Dana approached the Police Department last week only after reliable sources had informed him that you were involved in a DUI-related accident. When Mr. Dana asked the Department whether your name appeared in any DUI-related accident reports in recent months, he was told no, but that the police would need "specific information" to conduct a more detailed search.
Consequently, Mr. Dana located and interviewed the accident victim, Brian Escamillo. Mr. Escamillo is a Peoria fire fighter. On March 31, when Mr. Dana asked Mr. Escamillo if the driver who hit him was "Paul Chagolla," Mr. Escamillo said, "yes." When asked whether he believed the driver to be a Sheriff's officer, Mr. Escamillo replied, "not at the time." Mr. Escamillo indicated, however, that he later learned the driver to be a Sheriff's officer, and said that he knew the officer would "get in big trouble" and that he felt "sorry" for him.
On April 1, when Mr. Dana supplied Mr. Escamillo's name to the Glendale Police, the Department was then able to provide Mr. Dana the results of its more detailed search. Specifically, the Department told Mr. Dana that the intoxicated driver was "[NAME DELETED]," whose date of birth was "9/26/54." According to Glendale police records, the accident occurred on February 7, 2008, at the intersection of the 101 and Glendale. Mr. [NAME DELETED] was processed for "extreme DUI."
Upon receiving this information, Mr. Dana concluded that the driver would have been considerably older than you. Because the victim had identified you as the driver, Mr. Dana asked whether the Police Department had a photograph of the driver, but was given none. While the police seemed curious to learn what he found out about the incident, Mr. Dana told them that he understood Paul and [name deleted] to be two different persons. Based on information that presumably you could verify, Mr. Dana was told by a source that you and [NAME DELETED] are cousins.
Second, your email states that Mr. Dana made his inquiry "maliciously and spitefully." Nothing could be further than the truth. With all due respect, you are a high-ranking Sheriff's officer, who "intensley" [sic] represents your agency. As a news reporter, Mr. Dana has a duty to investigate reports from reliable sources, including an accident victim, who say you were driving under the influence. He followed up those reports, but in no way was "attempting to discredit you." As soon as he received the Department's detailed records revealing the identity of [name deleted], he ended his inquiry. KPNX did not broadcast a story.
Third, Mr. Dana never made an accusation, statement or suggestion to law enforcement that you had used any "aliases." If the Glendale Police Department felt obliged to speak with you about this issue, it was not because Mr. Dana encouraged it to do so.
Your email message makes a number of false accusations about Mr. Dana and KPNX. You accuse us of publicly tarnishing your name "under the guise of a public records inquiry . . . ." That statement is false because (1) the public records request was made in good faith (and resulted in the disclosure of [NAME DELETED] name), and (b) KPNX never "publicly" tarnished your name. In fact, by sending your intemperate message to a host of recipients other than this Station, you yourself have disseminated false information.
In the interest of fairness, I trust you will send this reply to all recipients of your message -- and resist the temptation in the future to level false accusations against KPNX and our reporters.
President & General Manager
From: Paul Chagolla
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 8:41 AM
To: Misner, John
I did not expect KPNX to acknowledge any wrong doing on the part of Mr. Joseph Dana, nor did I expect a response for that matter.
John, you have begun to explain and justify KPNX's actions. This is a clear indication that KPNX is in full damage control mode.
KPNX does not get it!
Let me get this straight. Mr. Dana smeared me even before speaking to the victim? And he fed my name to the victim? What did I do wrong to merit that treatment? If Mr. Dana had good information and believed that I had been arrested, why didn't he confront me?
Where are Mr. Dana's reliable sources now? John, it may be wise for Joseph Dana to hold onto their names.
On the last personal note to you John, how would you react and feel if this happened to you? I am not going to let KPNX hide this wrong, so I have no choice but to let everyone see how my agency and I are treated by your station.
Mr. Misner, I learned from a very wise man a very wise lesson: When you begin to justify what you have done, it is time to stop speaking. I am going to help KPNX find the value in this lesson.
The Law Offices of Iafrate and Associates will now serve the representative for Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for all KPNX contact. Please instruct your news room staff and reporters that all KPNX inquiries, interview requests, and public records requests are to be delivered to our attorney's office.