Joe Arpaio threatens border vigilantes

“If they continue this, there could be some dead militia out there,” warns the sheriff after a desert confrontation

Topics: Southern Poverty Law Center, Joe Arpaio, Arizona, Border Vigilantes, Minutemen, ,

Joe Arpaio threatens border vigilantes (Credit: Reuters/Laura Segall)
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center Arizona’s Minuteman movement – composed of heavily armed, anti-immigrant vigilantes and militia-style groups that patrol the Southwest border – has a new critic: Joe Arpaio, who calls himself America’s “toughest sheriff.”

The Maricopa County sheriff sounded off yesterday after a man who identified himself as a “militia Minuteman” was arrested for pointing a military-style assault rifle at a sheriff’s deputy he apparently mistook for a drug smuggler last weekend.

“If they continue this, there could be some dead militia out there,” Arpaio said, according to The Associated Press.

“I have to commend my deputy for not killing this person, which easily could have happened,” Arpaio said. “He’s lucky he didn’t see 30 rounds fired into him.”

The suspect, identified as Richard Malley, 49, of Glendale, Ariz., was booked into jail on a charge of aggravated assault but later released on $10,000 bail pending a court hearing next week.

Malley reportedly was looking for drug runners Saturday night along Interstate 8 near Gila Bend, Ariz., according to various news reports. Maricopa County Deputy Pat Arend said Malley appeared from the side of the road armed with an AR-15 rifle, a .45 caliber pistol and a fixed-blade knife, the AP reported.

Apparently believing he had caught a drug smuggler, Malley pointed his rifle and shined a flashlight at the uniformed deputy. In response, the deputy, pointing to the word “sheriff” boldly printed on his chest, ordered Malley to drop his weapon.

“You aren’t taking my weapons,” replied Malley, according to court records. A second deputy eventually arrived and arrested Malley.

Arend said it is was a miracle that neither he nor Malley was shot in the brief encounter, USA Today reported.

Malley claimed “he had the right to point his rifle at the deputy because he had reasonable suspicion to believe a crime was occurring, court documents say.

Although Arpaio hasn’t openly supported the movement, his virulent anti-immigrant stands and public statements on the topic seem to some to have given validity to various Minuteman groups.



The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the agency that manages millions of acres of federally owned land in the West, recently warned its agents of the danger to them and the public from heavily armed militia groups in Arizona’s Vekol Valley, where the confrontation occurred.

The various manifestations of the Arizona Minuteman movement have been riddled with violence, crime, controversy and suspicion.

In May 2009, Washington state resident Shawna Forde, co-founder of the Minutemen American Defense organization, recruited two men to rob and kill a man she thought was a drug dealer. The man’s 9-year-old daughter also was murdered. After Forde’s conviction on two counts of murder, other nativist group leaders, including Minuteman Project President Jim Gilchrist, tried to change their public image.

Last year, neo-Nazi  J.T. Ready, who had become sort of a poster boy for the Minuteman movement, went on a murderous rampage in Gilbert, Ariz., killing four people before taking his own life.

And, in July, Chris Simcox, who founded the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, was arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz., on charges of child molestation.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...