I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pinal deputy shooting: Not what it appeared to be.

And he got a medal for this?


Lawyered Up: A Crime-Scene Report Shows a Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy Who Claimed to be Shot by Mexican Drug Smugglers Didn't Cooperate Fully With a State Police Probe

Paul Rubin
Phoenix New Times
June 17, 2010

It's late Saturday afternoon, June 5, and the roof at Chase Field is closed for the Diamondbacks' game against the Colorado Rockies.

John McCain steps out of the Diamondbacks dugout onto the diamond.

The famed U.S. senator's mission, along with that of a new friend of his named Paul Babeu — the increasingly nationally visible sheriff of Pinal County — is to present awards to six law enforcement officers from central Arizona.

A private corporation and a nonprofit foundation have supplied tickets to 1,600 employees of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and their families.

The star of the pre-game festivities, the recipient who gets the loudest ovation, is a middle-aged man wearing eyeglasses and standing at attention in a crisp PCSO uniform.

His name is Louie Puroll, and he is about to win his agency's Purple Heart:

"On April 30, 2010," the announcer reads over the public-address system, "Deputy Puroll was patrolling in the Vekol Valley when he spotted several individuals transporting illegal drugs through the desert area."

"Shortly thereafter, the individuals who opened fire with AK-47-type weapons ambushed him. The suspects and Deputy Puroll fired multiple rounds. Ultimately, a bullet struck Deputy Puroll, above his kidney. Deputy Puroll has since recovered from his injury and has returned to full duty."

It seems like a happy ending for the 53-year-old deputy, who allegedly escaped serious injury or death during the gun battle.

The shootout, which captured the nation's attention, happened about three miles south of Interstate 8 near milepost 147.

The use of "allegedly" in connection with the incident — lone deputy fights off band of murderous bad guys in broad daylight and lives to see another day with nothing more than a superficial wound — seems appropriate in light of an Arizona Department of Public Safety crime-scene report obtained by New Times.

DPS Sergeant Jennifer Pinnow also uses the word in the report, noting that she assisted in "locating casings in the area where the deputy allegedly fired his rifle and handgun."

The DPS report doesn't suggest that Deputy Puroll staged the episode or that the 14-year PCSO veteran was involved in a nefarious scheme gone awry, perhaps not unlike that in which James Wren — a young Phoenix cop charged last week with stealing about $40,000 from dope dealers while on duty — has admitted involvement ("Phoenix Police Officer Charged With Shakin' Down Drug Dealers," Valley Fever blog, June 11).

Written by lead scene agent Detective Jeff Brown, the DPS report says, "All conclusions relative to this criminal investigation will be formulated by the Pinal County Attorney's Office upon review of the criminal case."

The DPS report raises more questions than it provides answers about an incident that escalated an already-volatile mood in Arizona spawned by the contentious anti-illegal immigrant Senate Bill 1070 and the late-March shooting murder — perhaps by an undocumented alien — of Cochise County cattle rancher Rob Krentz ("Cowboy Down," June 8).

For starters, Puroll did not fully cooperate with DPS detectives as they performed their crime-scene duties at the request of the PCSO.

Instead, in police parlance, the deputy "lawyered up" and followed the advice of his union (AZCOPS) attorney Denis Fitzgibbons by providing the DPS few specifics about what exactly happened out there.

The lack of cooperation by Puroll has veteran local police detectives (active and retired) wondering why...

Hit the Phoenix New Times for the rest - worth the read)