AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Militia: We Will Shoot You. By Accident.

“Tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is warning civilians who embark on armed patrols in remote desert terrain that they could end up with ’30 rounds fired into’ them by one of his deputies,” the AP reports. “His unapologetically terse comments came Tuesday after a member of an Arizona Minuteman border-watch movement was arrested over the weekend for pointing a rifle at a Maricopa County sheriff’s deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler. ‘If they continue this there could be some dead militia out there.’” Arpaio’s threat against Americans trying to defend the border through force of arms comes hot on the heels of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid—complete with armed local police and Customs and Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigation agents—on 16 Danny’s Family Carwash locations. Go figure.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

85 Responses to AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Militia: We Will Shoot You. By Accident.

  1. avatarWilliam Burke says:

    Hey, Joe, where you goin’ with that Statism in yo’ hand?

    • avatarBlue says:

      I think the power may be going to his head. He may end up being as bad as Eric with-Holder if he isn’t careful.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        Yep. They can’t stop the illegals. They can’t even bring themselves to call them illegals anymore. But don’t you interfere. Arpaio’s being sued by Holder. Holder despises Arpaio. But to both of them, your’re even worse. The one thinks you’re likely a scofflaw, and the other’s pretty sure you’re racist. Stay home. Lock your doors. Shut up.

        • avatarBarstow Cowboy says:

          Arpaio just couldn’t stand the fact that the feds stole his thunder. HE is the master of the Phoenix area immigration raid, and he can’t stand to be upstaged. He got jealous of our light rail system getting headlines when it first came out, so he had his three PR people release a story about his deputies using the light rail to transport prisoners to the airport, touting the fact that he was saving taxpayer monies because he no longer had to pay to park his vans when dropping prisoners at the airport. Soon after, an airport spokesperson said that the sheriff never had to pay for parking in the first place, and he only did the thing with the trains one time. He just couldn’t deal with an inanimate object getting more press than he was getting. I swear sometime Arizona is an ay-h0le magnet, between McCain and Arpaio, then Napolitano too.

      • avatarJesse says:

        HaHaHa. Sheriff Joe is on permanent election mode. Any chance he can get in front of the camera, he will take. Soundbits like “we will shoot you down” just helps the story go viral across the nation, so people will send money from out of state to help him get elected.

        Within another week he will have another news sighting, whether it is protecting pigs tied to trees, changing the color of the jails bologna, or finding some new road kill solution to feed the inmates. Some of his concepts would be great if they just weren’t backed by “At all cost” politics.. If you think Holder is bad, just wait till Sheriff Joe’s, Media Whim of the Week doesn’t fit your beliefs.

        • avatarBlue says:

          He over played his hand on this one if it gets out. Many of the out of state donors would rather help the Minutemen if he is going Nazi. As a matter of fact, I will send him a piss of email the next time one of his “begging for money” spams comes into my inbox. Hannity may even distance himself from Arpaio. To bad Sheriff Cow-Pie turned out to be a fake. I now have more respect for Chief Kessler.

    • avatarDamocles says:

      ” I’m going down to shoot a militiaman. Put 30 rounds into his chest.”

    • avatardon says:

      He didn’t express his thoughts very well but I agree with what I think he is saying. Cops shoot other cops by accident because they don’t know who is who in the heat of battle. There are often friendly fire incidents in the military too. So it stands to reason that a cop, arriving on a scene where some unknown person is running around waving a firearm, may think you are the bad guy waving a firearm and bad things happen.

      • avatargunyouzer says:

        Waving a firearm around should not automatically lead to getting shot. If someone threatens me, then we have a reason, but the mere presence of a gun should not give me liberty to dole out lethal force.

      • avatarJeremyR says:

        Maybe Joe needs to do a better kob of trainin his Barney Feifes. If he can’t count on his officers to not shoot innocent civilians, they should not be armed.

    • avatarspud says:

      Dum DUM..DUM DUM…DUM cho cho cho choochoochoochoo, hey joe

      This guy is great! I love it. Party on Joe

  2. avatarUSMCVeteran says:

    Coming from a sheriff that I once respected. Hey Joe, I belong to a militia and it goes both ways. Constitutional militias are here to support a sheriff if what he/she does is Constitutional.

    • avatarJohn S. says:

      Even the LEO’s we “think” are on our side seldom are. You have a lot of street level officers who may be on our side but most of the higher ups would rather LEO’s the only ones legally armed. If there was ever a place for a militia of the people in this modern time it would be along the southern border. Federal, State and Local Government does not have the will nor the resources to stop the flood of drug trafficking, smuggling and other crime that is flowing across our border. These people are killing innocent ranchers, destroying private property, making public lands so dangerous they must be closed off to those who pay to maintain them(the public). The only ones left to deal with this plague are those with true “skin in the game”, the same citizens whos lands and liberties are being assaulted with no help in side from the Government.

      • avatarBarstow Cowboy says:

        Do you really believe that if push came to shove that the officers and deputies loyalties would be with their fellow citizens rather than with the politicians and political appointees who hold their careers in their hands? Why?

  3. avatarBob7 says:

    I suspect that every attorney arguing excessive force by his deputies is going to use this statement to help prove their case. It will be claimed that his deputies are conditioned to use deadly force with little or no cause. Amateur hour if you ask me.

  4. avatarExcedrine says:

    He is going to experience a very rude awakening when he discovers that the militia patrols are doing a better job at defending his state’s borders than he and his deputies are. Then he’ll suddenly become a profuse apologist, but no one will buy it.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      That may already be the problem. The desert immigration sweeps by Joe’s army consist of deputies, but also many volunteer deputies. I’ve never heard of a county building such a large cadre of volunteer (unpaid) deputies. Q: Do they have to wear Joe’s Famous Pink Underwear?

      Who could have guessed that Joe spent 25 years with the DEA and its predecessor, ending up in charge of DEA’s Arizona division. And he deputized Seagal, who never smokes week, right?

  5. avatarWiregrass says:

    Sounds like the Feds have been watching Breaking Bad.

  6. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    Joe, Dude!!, luv ya. You have no idea Man. Good luck with that. 4th gen, asymmetrical, we know what you’ve had for breakfast. You can run, but there is nowhere that you can hide. Bummer.

  7. avatarJaxD says:

    Point a gun at a cop, get shot. Not that hard to understand, or is it?

    • avatarBlue says:

      Wasn’t that simple. They were in the desert and thought they were drug smugglers. Obviously if they were intending malice, the deputies would have been fertilizing a batch of Cacti.

      • avatarJaxD says:

        Pretty simple, the deputy could have ventilated militia Joe, and been fully justified in doing so. Then who would be to blame?

        • avatarBlue says:

          Actually the deputy was the one who was originally in the cross hairs so you have it backwards. Basically what this punk Sheriff has said is that we won’t pull up when we see it is a good guy like you did with us, we will murder you by mistake. That damn badge don’t stop .338 Win Mag.

        • avatarJake says:

          You do realize that bad guys have known for a long time that a good way to get the drop on someone is to pretend to be the good guys right? I mean, if you didn’t know that, you would have to have your head under a rock. Or somewhere else. Like up sheriff joe’s keister.

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      It was nighttime, and the cops rolled up in camouflage, in an unmarked car. They then proceeded to say that they were police, without offering any physical identification, and ordered the militia member to disarm.

      Frankly they’re lucky that the militia guy didn’t shoot them.

      • avatarHannibal says:

        …which is why Joe six-pack should stop playing soldier, because he has no freakin idea what is going on and is going to get someone killed, for what?

        • avatarBlue says:

          Joe Six-Pack got involved because ranchers etc. WERE being killed and DHS wasn’t doing much about. Sheriff Joe Cowpie is just one sheriff in 1 county. The boarder covers several counties.

  8. avatarBlue says:

    Sheriff Joe already has a war going on with Barry and Eric Holder. He may find out that his fat a$$ isn’t bullet proof if he gets 30 rounds up his sphincter.

  9. avatarRalph says:

    Sheriff Joe did not sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Or any night.

  10. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    Nice.

    Y’know, the cops were first in the crosshairs of a militiaman, so the warning of possible turnabout is only fair.

    Goose v. Gander, 1903; a very important precedent.

    Also, we should keep in mind that the pointer brother was only arrested, rather than shot. Perhaps Mr. Minuteman should’ve been a little more choosy.

    I’d take a dim view of someone drawings bead on me while I’m minding my own business.

    That said, ’tis a pity that they cannot figure out how to share the load.

  11. avatarUtah_rob says:

    Maybe 30 rounds fired AT them, 4 or 5 into…

  12. avatarKyle says:

    Is it wise and/or legal for militia to be doing this? Seems to me like a recipe for hurting gun rights, not helping them.

  13. avatarBlue says:

    Like Russ said, it is open carry etc. It may be dicey but the thing is, they are patrolling “coyote” (not the 4 legged kind) and cartel smuggling territory so not being armed would be even more dicey.

  14. avatarJeff says:

    At face value this doesn’t seem at all like a threat. It seems like a conflict between 2 groups who may be pursuing the same goals (stopping drug smugglers). But to think that a cop who is ambushed by a well meaning militia might not hold his/her fire is not that unreasonable. Mr. Malley might be better off not surprising unknown individuals in the middle of the night who are not on his own property.

    Contrasting this story with what looks like an ICE raid, seems like shoddy journalism by TTAGs. Mr. Farago, how are the two related?

    • avatarBlue says:

      What you just said is the militia guy showed better judgment than the deputies may show out there in the boonies.

  15. avatarBlue says:

    Sheriff Joe may be surprised next time he pan handles for his legal defense fund!

  16. avatarMediocretes says:

    You know what they say… If it’s war they want…

  17. avatarFrank Masotti says:

    Well he just lost all me respect. If I’m protectimg my land and a cop comes with a drawn gun I would point my gun if not shoot.

    • avatarMark N. says:

      The way I read the news report, they were not on “their own land.” They were patrolling public land. Public land that is also patrolled by the Bordr Patrol and by the Sheriff. Without coordinating with the Sheriff. For all the deputy knew, these guys wandering out in the desert in the middle of the night armed and wearing camo and who triggered sensors designed to pick up coyotes travelling through, were drug smugglers.

      No matter what side you come down on as to whether these guys should or should not be out there, it is stupid of them to go out there without letting other law enforcement agencies know, particularly at night.

  18. avatarNCG says:

    Sheriff Joe and the Minutemen pretty much deserve each other.

    Seriously, the history of the Minutemen Project is not pretty, what with the suing each other and the coziness with neo-Nazis (never proven, mind you), etc. Militia? Maybe. Well-ordered? Not so much. That said, they do have the legal right to hang out in the desert with guns and tug on their collective testicle.

    And Sheriff Joe…where to start. I don’t get how this guy is some sort of right-wing hero. Nothing he does has anything to do with effective law enforcement, and everything to do with self-promotion. The guy just wants attention. Consider his actions with his “deputy” Steven Seagal http://www.mrctv.org/node/102559. And yes, in addition to 150 chickens, they killed the dog. The lawsuits alone should be reason enough to get rid of this prick.

    • avatarFug says:

      I think Sheriff Joe is yet another example of someone built up by the establishment as a sort of false opposition. It is very hard to take him seriously, always has been. The DEA is among the most corrupt of all branches of Federal LE and everyone knows it. It is unlikely that Joe Blow rose above the pond scum and much more feasible that his shameless self promotion is ‘encouraged’ like that of Alex Jones or Adam Kokesh.

      • avatarNCG says:

        In this case, you’re tinfoil hat doesn’t quite fit me. I think Sheriff Joe and Kokesh are quite capable of being idiots without government encouragement. That said, I have more respect for Kokesh, even if he is an idiot. He’s my kind of idiot.

    • avatarjanklow says:

      yeah, this post pretty much covers it.

  19. avataruncommon_sense says:

    So, if a law enforcement officer points their gun at a citizen who the officer mistook for a crimnal, that’s okay. But if an armed citizen points their gun at a law enforcement officer who the citizen mistook for a criminal, that’s a crime? What’s the difference?

    • avatarMark N. says:

      I think there is a fair chance these charges will be dropped–there is no difference if the “perp” was attempting to perform a citizen’s arrest. And in this instance, the deputies acted as if they were out there to pick up a load of drugs, flashing their lights–so it was reasonable for the militia to get it wrong.

  20. avatarMelquiades says:

    I can’t really sympathize with either side. The militiamen are usually xenophobes who patrol property that isn’t theirs just to catch immigrants, and Joe Arpaio is an all around cunt. I hope no one gets hurt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time I am looking through TTAG I see an article about a dead militiaman or an accidental shootout.

  21. avatarSkyler says:

    Ahem. Illegal immigration does not carry a death sentence, nor does drug smuggling. What caused the militiamen to think they have a right to point a weapon at anyone?

    The Sheriff is overboard with his language but the militiamen are wrong. Patrolling is one thing. Threatening with weapons is another.

    • avatarMelquiades says:

      The militiamen use the pretext of “we are defending our land” even though they often overstep their boundary. That or they have a VERY broad definition of what constitutes their property. Joe Arpaio is no better though.

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      Armed robbery alone does not carry a death sentence. What caused an average citizen to think they have a right to point a weapon at anyone?

      My point is, drug smugglers are probably not safe people to have hanging around in your back yard.

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      No it doesn’t carry the death penalty. But ultimately, these drug runners are bring death and violence into America. I can’t really blame the residents down there for wanting to get rid of them.

      Because of the dubious legality of killing drug runners, I’m guessing that there is more than a little shooting, shoveling, and shutting the fuck up.

    • avatarBlue says:

      I guess you don’t realize that the “coyotes’ and the drug smugglers are armed and very dangerous. Perhaps you could ask Brian Terry and some other Border Patrol officers . . . oh wait, he was killed by armed drug cartel thugs. Apparently you are getting your information from Nanci Stretch Pelosi or the Former head of Homeland inSecurity before she went off to California.

  22. avatarDann says:

    I live in Buckeye, AZ. I’ve heard some bits of this from the mouths of some that work in the border patrol. They’re not fans of the “minute men” that patrol down there. The militia down there dress and act in the same manner as the law enforcement guys and have been know to be a little more trigger happy that the NYPD in recent years. As I recall the agents that were involved were out looking for smugglers of illicit goods. When they came upon the militia they gave the standard smuggler greeting anticipating capturing a group of smugglers. Instead what they got was a bunch of militia that refused to ID themselves and refused to lower there weapons after the agents ID’d themselves. Cant recall if the agents received backup and thats what caused it all to clam down. story got a bit fuzzy at that point. but in the end they arrested the guy that refused to lower his weapon and threatened to open fire of the agents. Now I’ve heard reports that there were between 2 and 5 agents and 3 to 15 militia persons during the initial encounter. Seems that they’re only prosecuting the one dude. On a side note, some of the border agents don’t mind the militia so much. What they do mind is that fact that some are refusing to coordinate with the agents their actions. Which can lead to unfriendly encounters.

    Request: Could you perhaps acquire more details of the incident when reporting about it. Also, what does the video, which i saw on 10.1 fox, have to do with Sheriff Joe’s comments and the militia? Is it to much to ask that when embedding a video, that, that video be something about the story at hand, rather than something else that happened in the same state?

  23. avatarjwm says:

    Militias should be subordinate to sworn law officers . Militias are supposed to help the local communities, not go rogue and answer only to themselves. That leads to Liberia and Mogadishu.

    • avatarg says:

      +1

      In cases like that “militia” is interchangeable with “gang”… which is what I think is being hinted at in this case.

      Trigger happy border patrol + trigger happy militia = someone gonna get shot. And probably not who they intended in the first place.

      • avatarjwm says:

        I don’t claim to be an expert on militias. But my understanding is that legit militias answer to the government and only go hot when they’re called out in very specific circumstances by the federal government.

        A bunch of guys that gather in their buddies garage and decide to call themselves a militia and begin patrolling land that’s not their own are skating towards epic fail.

        My own limited experience with militias came during Clintons first term. I looked into joining a militia and was turned off immediately by the anti jewish and anti minority rhetoric. Mud people was a popular term along with white homeland.

        I attempted to point out that white homeland sounded an awful lot like a reservation and how poorly that had worked out for the last bunch that got shoved there. Needless to say, I wasn’t a good fit with the group.

        • avatarNCG says:

          It does seem like “militias” generally have some political axe to grind, usually right-wing, but the Black Panther Party for Self Defense were basically Maoists, and they definitely qualify. I’d say they had more just cause (and certainly bigger stones) than the Minutemen, but that’s me. I’m not opposed to the idea of reasonable armed people getting together to plan for some contingency, but I also don’t like the idea of large “posse” groups (or Steven Seagal) affiliating themselves with law enforcement. In most of Latin America, we refer to these sorts of groups as “right-wing death squads.”

          So again, I support the civil militia concept. I’d say that guns and fighting should be 25% of the focus at most. Communications should probably be number one – ham radios, etc. Logistics maybe second – how to get stuff like medical supplies from here to there, clearing critical roads, “looting” grocery stores and distributing the food before it spoils. Basically doing the things that the government will do too slowly or never.

          Here in PDX, there are actually a lot of ham radio people and hard-core bicyclists signed up to participate in the event of the “Big One” subduction quake. You may scoff about the cyclists, but they take it seriously, and they’re probably in much better shape than you or I, and they can carry 100s of lbs of cargo over most any terrain.

          http://bikeportland.org/2013/07/13/disaster-relief-trials-bring-30-miles-of-urban-apocalyptica-back-to-portland-90373

    • avatarguy1 says:

      Subordinate to law enforcement? So you advocate a police state? Law enforcement officers have no power that isn’t first possessed by citizens, and since the militia is made up of citizens, LEO’s have no greater power than the citizenry, including the militia.

      LEO’s should not be regarded to have some magical powers that “mere citizens” don’t themselves have.

      • avatarjwm says:

        guy1, my reading of the militia act leads me to believe that militias are at the call of the government. If the government has called up your militia they may have the same standing as sworn law enforcement. Has the government called up your militia?

        Remember, all your actions have to stand up to the scrutiny of law.

  24. avatarmacgearailt says:

    Joe was career DEA before was sheriff, why the surprise?

  25. avatarDave Stein says:

    OK, do you people not see the point. A civilian on self-border patrol POINTED A RIFLE AT AN OFFICER….BY MISTAKE….he could have shot him by mistake and killed him by mistake. THIS SHERIFF IS WATCHING OUT FOR HIS DEPUTIES, do you not get it? NO DEAD DEPUTIES ON HIS WATCH. He’s not trying to curb your freedom, he’s trying to do JOB #1 of every police officer GET THROUGH THE SHIFT ALIVE get the men under your command home ALIVE. If it’s you or the officer because of a F*$*KING MISTAKE ON YOUR PART then you are going to get shot. STOP TRYING TO MAKE EVERYTHING INTO A GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY.

    • avatarNCG says:

      Funny, I thought that JOB #1 of cops was “to protect and to serve” the citizens that they are paid by. Also, they take an oath and stuff. I guess I’m old-fashioned.

      I can’t imagine the shit cops have to deal with, but they do sign up for it, they are paid better than most government employees, and there’s no excuse for the us-and-them, shoot first attitude that dominates most LEO agencies. That said, pointing a gun at a cop is really, deeply, stupid, and I’m no fan of the Minutemen playing border patrol.

      Of course, I have the Socialist/Libertarian view that we should legalize drugs and open the border. If U.S. companies can go to Mexico for cheap labor, then Mexicans (or Chinese etc.) should be able to come to the U.S. for better wages. Free Trade, right?

    • avatarBarstow Cowboy says:

      You sound angry.

      • avatarFug says:

        He has a valid point. I think Arpaio is a blowhard, but the “militia” is overstepping its bounds if it is out there pointing guns at people, let alone deputies. If somebody wants to run a militia out there they should stay a certain distance from the border and focus on protecting private property from trespass. The border is not any militia’s business, that is just asking for trouble in so many ways due to government and criminal activity on both sides.

        • avatarBlue says:

          I agree that the militia is walking a fine line. However, as the Sworn elected top LEO in the county Sheriff Joe is worse because they can “hide” behind IAD and unions when they screw up and shoot someone by “mistake.”

    • avatarBlue says:

      #1, he needs to train his deputies better. Lurking around in the dark in camo and no ID will get you lit up on my rural property. Wearing the badge isn’t a right its a privilege. However, if you are on the job wear it!. People don’t want to get shot by a chickenshit cop. If you don’t have the gonads and training to do it right, become a nurses aid at an old folks home.

      Sheriff Joe Blow probably cost himself the next election.

  26. avatarArdent says:

    Seems to me like there is The Unorganized Militia, the there are some disorganized militias. Wondering around in the dessert without being sworn or commissioned in an attempt to enforce a patchwork of laws with rifles sounds a lot like the latter. Stupid things in stupid places. . .

    Joe is a bit of a lunatic, and who knows exactly what goes round in his head. He’s sometimes entertaining, sometimes he’s really onto something and other times he’s infuriating. This time maybe he just doesn’t want the heat of a shootout between concerned citizens and his cops which is something everyone ought to want to avoid.

    I think Sheriff Joe is over the top and probably unsuited to law enforcement (though he sure has a lot of company there!) but I think I’m going to give him a pass on this one; could be he’s just hit on a really, really bad way of expressing concern about a real problem. In the mean time, if one wishes to enforce the law, become a cop, to defend the country become a soldier, play army in the woods? Choose a place with a little less action for your playtime.

    • avatarBlue says:

      The ranchers etc. haven’t had adequate assistance from the Feds and Joe doesn’t have enough deputies to concentrate solely on the border. The smugglers and coyote’s have taken over the area and killed people. I don’t think you grasp how much real estate is there nor its terrain.

  27. avatarJake says:

    This dude really does not know whose side he is on. He has a tendency to lash out at anyone who isn’t a rabid, meekly obedient supporter, whether left or right. Seems to see himself almost as a feudal knight, barely answerable even to the puppet lords above him.

  28. Sounds like a huge swinging dicks contest to bag illegals. If either group was serious and professional, then they would coordinate and work together.

  29. avatarJohn Boch says:

    Hey Joe:

    I train cops on occasion. Most of them aren’t really *that* good.

    Better than your average untrained gun owner, yes.

    Certainly better than your average Hollywood-trained hoodlum.

    But your cops aren’t better than trained and experienced firearms enthusiasts.

    Be careful with your boasts, sir. Or you may end up with dead deputies for no good reason.

    And frankly, the guy that was arrested, with an attorney more than a week out of law school, will likely be acquitted by a jury of his peers, assuming the SA’s office doesn’t quietly drop the charges.

    Nothing wrong with challenging someone and then asking for ID when they are acting strangely in an area known for illegal activity.

  30. avatarRon says:

    Isn’t threatening to shoot someone illegal; even if you are the police?

  31. avatarShaun L. says:

    It seems awful easy to criticize his statement but put yourself in his shoes for a minute… Think of the legal circus he’d be trapped in if one of his deputies DID shoot an “unknown potential combatant”. Sheriff Joe is already beset on all sides by politicians that want his head on a pike, so what if he has to cover his ass a bit.

    I may not agree with ALL of his decisions/actions but I do think the world could use a few more of him to replace the Bloombergs, Pelosis and Reeds we have calling shots these days.

    I only wish he could UTILIZE the militias to his benefit without putting his position in jeopardy by working with them to bolster or support his available manpower.

    Who would YOU put in his place that you think would do a better job and what real chance do you think they have of being elected?

  32. avatarBen says:

    Maybe the car washes were laundering meth money.

  33. avatarPete says:

    I have to think that the sheriff is just being realistic. If you brandish a firearm at a sheriff, you are flirting with death.

  34. avatarA. Nuran says:

    Here’s hoping both sets of armed scofflaws – the Armed Clown Posse and Sheriff Joe’s Imperial Stormtroopers – will Stand Their Ground and apply Second Amendment Solutions to each other. The world will be a better place.

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