Where authority has no limit in retaliation, for those against them.
Sheriff Arpaio has a history of harassing "dime-droppers" within the Sheriff's Office and penalizing critics outside of it. The guy behind a prominent anti-Arpaio Web site found his trash rifled through and a wiretap on his phone. An actor who dared to pose as an Arpaio-like character for a pro-gambling initiative was arrested for — get this —"impersonating a police officer." Even the ACLU's legal director was booked into the county jail after attempting to monitor sheriff's deputies last year. (See "Enemies List," November 29, 2007.)
When Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon spoke out against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he had to know that retaliation would be swift. After all, past critics of the sheriff's office have been investigated, smeared, even jailed.
The sheriff's Internal Affairs Division, the department demanding Gordon's e-mail, is a frequent tool for Arpaio's revenge.
Arpaio himself used to refer to the bureau as "Internal Security,"according to the deposition of one former deputy. I don't think it was an innocent slip. Rather than serving as an independent arm to "police the police," as in many departments, Internal Affairs at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office appears to take direction from the top.
When, for example, the bureau was investigating the very real question of whether Arpaio had ordered his enemies to be tailed, the sheriff's top brass limited the scope so that Arpaio couldn't be questioned on that subject. (That detail comes from court filings by Phoenix attorney Joel Robbins, who's handled numerous suits against the sheriff, including one from Dan Saban, the sheriff's once and future opponent and the victim of a particularly ugly smear.) At other times, Internal Affairs eagerly pursued deputies whose only crime was questioning Arpaio's orders.