Interim Phoenix Police Chief Expects to Make Changes to Department

Categories: News

Phoenix PD
Interim Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner.
Interim Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner says he expects to make changes to the organization of the department, in the wake of the firing of former Chief Daniel Garcia.

Garcia was fired last week after a lengthy battle with the police unions, although was officially terminated for disobeying orders from the city manager. Garcia held a press conference to demand a contract from the city, and city leadership had directly warned Garcia not to hold that press conference.

Yahner didn't announce specific changes in his introductory press conference, but did say he's going to make some "little tweaks," specifically mentioning the organization structure.

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10 Realizations You'll Have During a Phoenix Winter

Categories: List This

Yesterday was the first day of Winter, which means there are some realities about Winter in Phoenix that you'll have to accept.

Here are 10 realizations you'll have during a Winter in Phoenix:

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Key Evidence Missing in Probe of Camelback Mountain Fall That Killed Firefighter and Teen

Categories: News

Phoenix Police Department
An orange piece of webbing similar to the one shown here was used by Gary Johnstone as an anchor point. The anchor failed for unknown reasons, resulting in the deaths of Johnstone and 15-year-old Trevor Crouse, and the piece of orange webbing used by them disappeared while in the custody of the fire department.
A key piece of evidence is missing in the investigation into how a Phoenix firefighter and his son's teenage friend fell to their deaths in August at Camelback Mountain.

Gary Johnstone, a technical rescue team member and veteran firefighter for 15 years with the department, was pronounced dead at the scene on August 8; Trevor Crouse, 15, the son of a Phoenix police officer, survived for 10 hours before succumbing to his injuries. Another boy who fell at the same time recovered from his injuries.

A Phoenix police report released on Thursday and reviewed by New Times only deepens the mystery of how and why three people fell at the same time during rappelling practice.

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Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia Fired

Categories: News

Former Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia.
Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia held a press conference yesterday, in part to demand a two-year contract from the city.

He was fired for holding that press conference.

"The chief disobeyed a direct order when he held his news conference today," City Manager Zuercher said in a statement released shortly after the press conference. "We can not expect our officers to follow orders when our chief fails to lead by example."

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Joe Arpaio Exploits Dog-Mauled Little Boy to Score Publicity

Thumbnail image for FeatheredBastard_RESIZE_VF.jpg

The older I get, the more I appreciate that line by Elvis Costello: "Oh, I used to be disgusted/ Now I try to be amused..."

But you'll forgive me if Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest stunt nevertheless leaves me nauseated. According to an MCSO press release, he will be hosting five year-old Kevin Vicente at his office, today at 11:30 a.m.

Vicente is the little boy who had his face half-chewed off by a vicious pit bull in February.

After that shocking incident, human nature being what it is, many people initially rallied around the, um, pit bull.

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Maricopa County Mugshots of the Week: Face Reading

At the end of the week, we bring you a roundup of visitors to the desert's own Fourth Avenue Jail. To be considered for our Maricopa County mugshots of the week, get arrested, strike a pose, and we'll take care of the rest.

This week, we read the inmates' faces -- mostly thanks to face tattoos. Enjoy.

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Joe Arpaio Shutting Down Infamous ID Theft Unit, Known for Workplace Raids

Categories: News

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is shutting down his Criminal Employment Unit, which notoriously raided businesses around the county to arrest undocumented immigrant employees.

Immigrant-rights groups sued Arpaio over the raids earlier this year, and as part of that lawsuit, Arpaio submitted a notice yesterday stating that the unit is going to be disbanded.

"It's good in the sense that [Arpaio's] responding and realizing that he's going to lose this battle," Puente Arizona director Carlos Garcia tells New Times. However, an MCSO memo filed in the case says the unit's not disbanding immediately.

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Fact-Check Fail: Arizona Republic Flubs Mark Brnovich's Bogus Medical-Marijuana Claim

Categories: Media, Schmedia

Where does 25 equal 30, and 22.7 percent equal "most?"

The Arizona Republic's "Fact Check: Keeping Arizona Honest" column, of course.

In Sunday's paper, as a reader informed us this week, a fact-check completely flubs the evaluation of Mark Brnovich's comment on TV last month about the state's medical-marijuana patients. (The article has not yet appeared online at

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Phoenix Cop Shoots, Kills Army Soldier

Categories: News

Yumi Kimura
An allegedly suicidal 18-year-old Army soldier was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday afternoon.

Police say William R. Osterlind had developed a relationship with a 14-year-old girl, and was approaching her house when a Phoenix police officer fired one shot from an AR-15 rifle that hit Osterlind in the side. As he fell to the ground, police say Osterlind fired his handgun, which went through the front door and hit the 14-year-old girl's younger sister, a 12-year-old girl, in the leg.

Osterlind died from his injury, although the 12-year-old girl's injury was not life-threatening, according to Phoenix Police Sergeant Trent Crump.

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A White Cop's Killing of an Unarmed Black Man Catapults Phoenix Into America's New Civil Rights Movement

Categories: Cover Story

Graham Smith

Righteous rage fills the air as a young African-American demonstrator yells through his bullhorn.

"We are fed up!" cries Jarvis Johnson, his face filled with emotion. "We are done! We want justice, and we want it now!"

Johnson's walking back and forth in the middle of the intersection of Seventh and Roosevelt streets in Phoenix on Friday, December 5, as fellow demonstrators (about 40) stage a "die-in," blocking traffic by lying in the street in protest over a wave of police killings of unarmed black men from New York City to Phoenix.


"This ain't no black thing," shouts another African-American man. "It ain't no white thing. It ain't no brown thing. It's a justice thing."

What began earlier as a smaller protest, spearheaded by some in the local activist community who may or may not refer to themselves as "anarchists," quickly grew to about 300 people.

One woman held the sign "I can't breathe, Eric Garner, RIP," referring to the July 17 killing of an unarmed black man in Staten Island, New York, as he was arrested by members of the New York Police Department.

Garner, 43, suffered from asthma and was confronted by the cops for the misdemeanor offense of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Video taken by a friend of Garner's shows NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo's taking down Garner with an illegal choke-hold.

Garner repeatedly complains that he can't breathe in the video, and we see Pantaleo pressing Garner's head into the sidewalk.

Garner passes out, later suffering a heart attack and dying.

The New York City Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death a homicide, caused in part by "the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police."

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Martha McSally Officially Beats Ron Barber in CD-2 Race

Categories: News

Martha McSally.
Republican Martha McSally has officially upset Democratic Congressman Ron Barber.

The results of the recount were released this morning, and McSally won the district by 167 votes. The recount actually extended the lead for McSally, whose 161-vote lead over Barber was close enough to trigger the recount.

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Jan Brewer's Driver's License Ban to Be Blocked

Categories: News

Wing-Chi Poon
Governor Jan Brewer's executive order that prevents certain immigrants from getting driver's licenses will be blocked by a court order.

A federal appellate court decision earlier this year called for a temporary end to Brewer's order, and the U.S. Supreme Court today denied the Brewer administration's request to keep the license policy in effect. Immigrants granted deferred action by the Obama Administration will be able to get Arizona driver's licenses as soon as a few formalities are dealt with.

"This order is a big holiday gift to the DREAMers -- and a lump of coal for Governor Brewer," says ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell. "It's time for Arizona leaders to put this unwise, discriminatory policy behind them and let it end with Governor Brewer's term."

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Phoenix Police Union: Rumain Brisbon "Had the Choice to Live"

Categories: News

The Phoenix police union says Rumain Brisbon, the unarmed Phoenix resident who was fatally shot by a Phoenix police officer earlier this month, had the choice to live.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association issued a lengthy press release rationalizing the shooting, which it normally doesn't do.

"Mr. Brisbon had the choice to live that evening," part of the union's statement says. "Mr. Brisbon knew he was engaged in illegal activity and likely knew he would stand a good chance of returning to prison if arrested. It was Mr. Brisbon who elected to disobey repeated commands, run from the police, fight with police, resist any efforts to detain him and engage in further behavior leading the officer to believe he was armed. Had Rumain Brisbon simply submitted to lawful authority there would have been no arguments, no physical altercation and most importantly, the situation would not have escalated to the point where lethal force would have been needed to control the situation."

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New Times Founders Helping Fund Latino Program at ASU Journalism School

Categories: News

Stephen Lemons
New Times founders Mike Lacey (left) and Jim Larkin.
The co-founders of Phoenix New Times are giving a $2 million gift to Arizona State University's journalism school to support a new program focused on coverage of Latino and borderlands issues.

Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, the New Times founders, are using proceeds from their lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a Chair in Borderlands Issues at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Lacey and Larkin won a $3.75 million settlement last year for their false arrests in 2007 -- arrests that were orchestrated by Arpaio.

Lacey and Larkin say their gift to ASU stems from their "outrage at the way Mexican immigrants, in particular, have been treated by the sheriff's office."

"We are living under a lawman who has been convicted of racially profiling Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in this community and is currently facing contempt charges," Lacey says. "We are living in a state where the head of education has canceled Chicano studies in the city of Tucson. We are living in a state where the governor thinks it's appropriate to deny driver's licenses to young kinds because they were brought across the border by their parents . . . In this environment, this is a small counter weight to that level of bigotry and stupidity."

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Phoenix-Area Native American Communities Mum on Legalizing Pot

Categories: News

Legal marijuana could be a reality in the Phoenix area even if pot remains illegal under Arizona law.

News broke last week that the Justice Department is advising federal prosecutors not to stop tribes from growing or selling marijuana on their lands, even in states where marijuana remains illegal.

According to the Justice Department memo, some tribes had requested guidance on how federal drug laws would be enforced in regards to marijuana, although it didn't say exactly which tribes were curious.

We checked with a couple of Phoenix-area Native American communities, and they're staying mum on the issue.

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Supreme Court Won't Hear Arizona Abortion Law, Which Remains Blocked

Categories: News

The United States Supreme Court won't take up a case involving an Arizona law that severely restricts medicated abortions in the state.

This means that enforcement of that law remains blocked while Planned Parenthood Arizona and the Tucson Women's Clinic continue to fight the law in federal court, as they seek to have it permanently overturned.

"The Court did the right thing today, but this dangerous and misguided law should never have passed in the first place. Politicians across the country should take note -- these harmful and unconstitutional restrictions won't be tolerated by the courts or the public," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says in a statement. "Politicians are not medical experts -- but politicians have written this law with the ultimate goal of making safe, legal abortion hard or even impossible to access."

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Top 10 Hottest TV News Women in Phoenix

Categories: List This

Stephanie Hockridge, anchor and reporter for ABC 15.
Phoenix's TV news crews certainly have a lot of on-air talent.

Below, we give you our picks for the 10 hottest TV news ladies of Phoenix:

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Drew Stanton's Season Not Over, According to Reports

Categories: Cardinals

Ken Lund
UPDATE 12:17 p.m.: Coach Bruce Arians says Stanton "does not need surgery -- just rest." Read more from Arians at the bottom of this post.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton was knocked out of last night's game against the St. Louis Rams with a knee injury, but Stanton's not necessarily out for the year.

The Cardinals won last night's game, and have clinched a playoff berth assuming this weekend's game between San Francisco and Seattle doesn't end in a tie, but no one would expect much of a playoff run without Stanton.

The NFL "insiders" for both ESPN and the NFL Network, Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport, are both citing sources that say Stanton's not done for the year.

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Merilee Fowler and MATFORCE are Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Tools

Categories: Weed

Merilee Fowler, executive director of MATFORCE, an anti-substance-abuse group fighting marijuana legalization in Arizona.
The marijuana legalization movement has several foes in Arizona, and Merilee Fowler, executive director of MATFORCE in Yavapai County, is one of the biggies.

Both sides are getting an early start on the campaign to pass or defeat a likely ballot initiative planned to be put before Arizona voters in November of 2016. Judging by the propaganda that Fowler and other prohibitionists like Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk are already pumping out, truth is the first casualty in what looks to be long slog ahead.

Witness the Communist-like propaganda penned by Fowler appearing in various Arizona news outlets today, including the Arizona Capitol Times.

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Arizona Corrections Officer Accused of Serial Shoplifting at Walmart

Categories: Crime Blotter

A mugshot and surveillance stills of Hugo Rivera's alleged Walmart thefts.
A serial Walmart shoplifter was caught this week, and he turned out to be a corrections officer, according to authorities.

Hugo Rivera, 34, shoplifted from Walmart stores at least five times, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, and had already been banned from entering any Walmart store when he was caught in the act earlier this week.

Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Doug Nick tells New Times that Rivera resigned from the department after his arrest, and that he had no disciplinary history other than "relatively minor" incidents.

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