The sheriff of Pimal County in Arizona, Paul Babeu, is running, again, for Congress. He is running as a Republican in Arizona’s 1st Congressional district for the Republican nomination to replace Ann Kirkpatrick. Babeu ran for Congress in 2012 but dropped his bid in May of that year after an undocumented immigrant Jose Orozco came out and said that the two of them had been lovers. Orozco further claimed that Babeu threatned Orozco with deportation if he made the affair public. Babeu admitted that he was gay but did not admit to anything else. Babeu remained incredibly popular with the voters in his county and was re-elected to his position of sheriff of Pimal County.Babeu was cleared of any criminal charges regarding the Orozco incident.
Babeu rose to fame within the Republican Party for appearing in John McCain’s “build the dang fence” ad.
He later assisted McCain with the Border Security Enforcement Act of 2011. As with the ad, the call was for thousands of National Guard troops deployed to the United States-Mexico border. In addition, it would call for 5,000 additional border patrol agents to the border and funding for Customs inspectors. More importantly since we have talked about it quite a bit in 2016, there was a call for a double layer fence across the border.
Babeau has called for increased security for the border for the US-Mexico border. His campaign website touts his experience as the commander for the Yuma sector supporting 700 active duty soldiers and airmen. In an article with conservative website NewsMax that the border is not secure. He went further saying, “I’m telling you that as somebody on the ground, as someone who experiences it every day. This is a lie that is being peddled by those who must convince the American people that it is secure and everything is just fine.” Babeu opposes the Gang of Eight immigration bill because it does not focus enough on border security. From the same article:
They are dead wrong. Instead of putting their focus on finding a path to citizenship and a green card, they should put their focus on American citizens and securing our border, and enforcing our laws and putting Americans first rather than these individuals.
It’s unclear what effect the story of Louie Puroll has had on Sheriff Paul. The Phoenix New Times wrote a report regarding this shooting. About a week after Governor Jan Brewer signed the infamous S.B. 1070 into law, Puroll sustained a shooting. He claimed that he was on a routine patrol when he saw a handful of Latino or Native American men. He followed these men for a while. Then there was a shot from about 25 yards away from an AK-47. He called 911 from his cell phone and yelled out that an officer was shot. Within 20 minutes, dozens of police officers showed up. This would include about 200 cops. Within an hour, four helicopters also showed up to help with the manhunt. The men escaped, as well as the backpacks that they were carrying which Puroll claimed were filled with marijuana. The Phoenix New Times reported Babeu saying,”We learned a lot from the situation, about how to be better prepared and react and to marshal our forces so that bad guys aren’t able to escape like these guys did. It was very unfortunate that they got away.” The forensice experts that the reporters for the Phoenix New Times contacted reported having suspicions of the shooting indicating that the shots sustained by Puroll may have taken place closer than what Puroll claimed. Babeu showed up fairly regularly on Fox News to talk about the poor security around the border and illegal immigration. The Phoenix New Times posted a blog post which led to some speculation about whether or not Puroll was actually shot by illegal immigrants or if he shot himself. Babeu jumped to the defense of his deputy but also had to correct some of the information that was released within a few hours of the police shooting.
After that report, Babeu had to send the shirt for testing as well as more investigation into Puroll. The reporter who wrote the original story also had an interview with Puroll. During this interview, Puroll made a claim that he was approached by multiple members of the Mexican cartel to look the other way if he “bumped into them.” Puroll also noted he “didn’t arrest any of these men, call for backup, or write reports” about these incidents. After the tape recorder was shut off, Puroll told the reporter that a friend of his offered to kill the reporter for writing that story. The reporter notes that he gave Puroll opportunities to amend or retract these statements.
Puroll was investigated by internal affairs after the interview with the reporter was published. There were 10 allegations against Puroll. All 10 of these allegations were sustained and Puroll was fired for being untruthful. For whatever, it’s worth Babeu “said he still believes Puroll’s story about getting shot by a drug smuggler in the Vekol Valley but conceded that the deputy told tall tales about the death threat and about meeting repeatedly with cartel members.”
Babeu continued to push for a story that involved the smugglers involved in the Puroll shooting setting an ambush for Puroll. The claim was wildly inaccurate even if you believe Puroll’s claims about being shot. The shooting took place as they noticed Puroll following them. Not that it was a deliberate ambush.
RollCall refers to him as a younger man’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio with regards to immigration. How much stock should we put into his personal life? I personally don’t think we should be delving into people’s personal lives unless they are abusing their authority, breaking laws, or are misusing public funds. The assistant attorney general in charge of the inquiry into Babeu found “there is no indication he misused any authority or misused public money to harass or intimidate Jose Orozco.” However, the text messages and voicemails sent by Babeu to Orozco have not been in dispute have they happened and they are problematic for me. You can read them in the Phoenix New Times report.