Elias Johnson, former PCSO Spokesman, Accused of Meddling in SWAT Operation (With UPDATE)

EliasJohnson1.jpg
Former PCSO Spokesman Elias Johnson

Elias Johnson wasn't a sworn officer --- but he apparently played one while off duty.

Johnson was a mouthpiece for Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. New Times has learned details about the July incident that led to Johnson's resignation on Friday.

Sources tells us that Johnson, a former television reporter, apparently stumbled upon a surveillance operation conducted by the U.S. Marshal's Office in his Gilbert neighborhood.

See also: Sheriff Babeu's Spokesman, Elias Johnson, Under Investigation Over Allegations of "Serious Misconduct"
See also: Sheriff Babeu's Spokesman, Elias Johnson Resigns, Faces Allegations of Unauthorized Participation in a U.S. Marshals Bust

A search was under way for the arrest of former Phoenix Police Sergeant Justin Griffith, who was wanted in connection with a scheme involving the purchase of pain killers using blank prescription pads and allegedly taking a cut of the money after the pills were sold.

Johnson identified himself to the surveillance team as a member of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office -- which apparently left the impression that he was sworn law enforcement officer. He isn't. He's a civilian employee.

As Griffith showed up at his Gilbert home, and deputy marshals were about to make their move, they spotted a Fox 10 news truck on the scene.

Sources tell us that Johnson tipped off Fox 10 to the pending arrest, and indeed, in their July newscast, they say that their "cameras were the only ones rolling" as the former Phoenix cop is arrested.

But allegedly tipping off the media in the middle of SWAT operation isn't the only wrong move Johnson was said to have made that night. According to sources, Johnson wasn't truthful when he was asked whether he called the media.

Cop or not, lying is never the right approach.

We called U.S. Marshal David Gonzales, who confirmed that the incident happened, but referred any questions back to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

We're working on getting copies of the investigative reports.

UPDATE

According to PCSO documents, investigators sustained four allegations against Johnson.

1. Unauthorized use of a county vehicle, unauthorized transportation of an individuals while he was off duty. (Apparently Johnson had a neighbor in the county vehicle and was driving around with him. And, he also attached red and blue lights to his car, further giving the impression that he was an actual cop.)

2. Betraying confidence and releasing sensitive information without authorization by contacting the news media, while off duty, and alerting them to an ongoing fugitive arrest-warrant operation conducted in his neighborhood by the U.S. Marshal.

3. Was untruthful about the fact that he contacted the news media when asked by the U.S. Marshal's Office, his PCSO supervisor, and PCSO internal affairs. (Johnson claimed that Fox 10 called him.)

4. While off duty, without authorization or without even being asked, he participated in an outside agency fugitive arrest-warrant operation conducted by the U.S. Marshal's Office. HIs actions included the use of his PCSO vehicle and recording camera and donning a ballistics vest. He went onto private property and entered the private residence of the suspect fugitive with the team of law enforcement officers, all while filming the operation.

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15 comments
Decent_American
Decent_American

I wonder how many times Babeu rode around with his illegal alien boyfriend in his county car? Did Babeu make Jose sit in the back seat so he would look like a prisoner?

youproductsucks
youproductsucks

Is this the same Justin Griffith who received media attention for jumping into a canal to save a dog?  Is it the same Justin Griffith who was arrested by Gilbert PD for DUI?  

snowman
snowman

Babeu no longer needed Elias' PR background. Elias was hired on to manage the media concerning inquiries made about Babeu's sexuality. Now it is no longer an issue.  Babeu disposed of Elias much like he does with his boyfriends "thru his lawyer."

 

TellTheTruth
TellTheTruth

Little Elias has been playing "big boy" games for a year now. Babeu needed his video and media skills to help with his congressional campaign. Remember Hatch Act, anyone?

 

Elias got an unmarked, take-home car as a civilian and Team Babeu never even noticed the windshield mounted red and blues? Deputies and citizens have complained about his use of them but, dang, they were the wrong deputies and the wrong citizens.

 

We can only hope the "miracle worker" Gaffney is next. No, wait! We hope Babeu is next.

Badgeman
Badgeman

Mr. Johnson committed the federal offense of obstruction of justice. The boys in the black van were there to transport the suspect and pump him for information (No Elias, pumping in this case means to develop criminal intelligence as oppose to pumping Mexicans by Babeu).

 

Any information that was obtained by the”Feds” was compromised as the suspect’s associates were informed by Fox Ten. 

 

Johnson, why are you losing your job?  Babeu  uses his position as "Sheriff" to impress his internet buddies. 

badgeman
badgeman

Johnson make the best out of this situation.  You can say you took the assignment with PCSO so that you could uncover Babeu’s unethical and illegal activities. (In-depth Investigative reporting)

 

Or simply wait, until Babeu is ready to run for congress , and write a book about his unethical and illegal conduct. 

 

Do you think it is fair you lost your Job, when Babeu has engaged in far more disgusting activities? 

 

Be a hero to the citizens of Pinal County and give up your boss.  You are far more of a threat to Babeu than his Mexican boyfriend.   

 

I knew something would be announced today, as Babeu held a press conference today to deflect attention.  Babeu is recruiting JT Ready posse members. 

 

badgeman
badgeman

Johnson great reporting.  It's time to give up Babeu. 

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

It's bad enough when a certified officer is stupid and does something like this. Then you have a stupid civilian pretending to be a stupid cop and he uses his position to gain favors from a network station. Oh, the webs we weave.

 

Stupid is, as stupid is, civilian or not.

Herder
Herder

Johnson's move is a window on Fox 10's journalistically corrupt relationship with Babeu's political operation.  For Babeu, the legitimate functions of law enforcement have never been more than a prop and pretext for an ongoing media spectacle with him at its center.  Demagogy and law enforcement don't mix, but demagogy and Fox 10 do.

Decent_American
Decent_American

 @truthseekeraz Babeau's "posse" is nothing more than the leather queens he hooked up with at his favorite bath house. 

friendsbetray
friendsbetray

 @TellTheTruth

 It is sad how friends betray you. They are worse tha Paul, Gaffney and Elias, put together. When you spent hours and hours explaining every detais of your life and they take it over Because they think they are aboive you. They take your information and use it to put you down. They are what I call users. They think they can hide shit from you. They stick together because they do not care about you and never have.. The joke is on me. It is so funny Norm, you go by,:"Tell the Truth". Norm, make sure Keith Hurt, who says, " I lie all the time", you keep him. Yo,u will be getting a nice lawyer letter in the mail, never to use my material and the same with Keith. If you think in anyway, I going to put up with both your big ego's, you are sadly mistaking. Try to make copies, but it won't happen. Roberto Reveles is the same way. My warning to all is to stop using any of my material at all, for any purpose.  Have fun Norm with your boy's club. Your days are numbered. You may think you all have the smarts. But, it is all going to backfire starting now.

Babeu
Babeu

 @TellTheTruth

 Your friend Keith has been playing "big boy" games for several years now. You needed him as much as he needed you. Who cares about Elias, when people like you betray someone, being me, that I thought was my friend. Especially, when you have all my material. Ignore me all you want, it is a slap in the face for you to blog before addressing the issue at hand. The miracle in this would be, if for once you realize who I am and quit taking the little boy's side. But, that will not happen, you both are a bunch of users. You think you do not need me anymore because you have all my material. Do not think because Keith is so smart and that is why you love him. that You both will get away with this anymore.  Betrayal at it's best. Lucy Babeu

Berkeley
Berkeley

 @badgeman   Yes, Johnson must know that other, favored employees have gotten away with most of the things he was accused of, and worse, without fear of consequences.  (Misuse of county vehicles?  Check.  Improper release of confidential law-enforcement sensitive information?  Check.  Lying?  Check, in spades.)  And he must know, or will soon figure out, that Gaffney & Babeu had already put the knife in even before the US Marshal complained.  (Gaffney quietly went through his phone records on July 23rd & reported the results to Babeu, but left Johnson in the dark for another two seeks, to dig himself in deeper.)  He may even eventually see the corruption & fraudulence of the men he served, the toxic contrast between Babeu's punitive, sanctimonious posturing and his underlying sociopathic moral idiocy.  He'll almost certainly get bitter as the reality of his predicament becomes obvious to him.  But drowning men don't blow whistles, and it's silly to expect them to.  Like a long line of men before him who were formerly useful to Babeu, Elias Johnson will go down quietly.  

unethicalstudboi1
unethicalstudboi1

 @badgeman

 this is not a coincidence... Media had enought babeu's lied, so sheriff studboi1 wanted to impress and sent Johnson to tipp off Fox 10, cause they are the only one who report about babeu lies and false statements. Babeu never has facts. sheriff studboi is the only responsible for this, but send under the bus his buddies and loyal supporters. It would be interesting if sheriff studboi and johnson had phone conversations.

Babeu
Babeu

TellTheTruth,

It will not allow me to edit the comment,  so, I wanted to make sure you get the right message: YOU BOTH WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS ANYMORE!!!!!!!!! LUCY BABEU

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