Original article can be found here.

What, No SWAT Team? Updated—Who is Bart Graves?

Let me get this straight.  There are over 40,000 unserved felony warrants in Maricopa County alone and DPS sends a team to arrest the Executive Director of the Republican Party at his office–for a traffic ticket?  OK, so it sounds like a serious ticket, but dude, it’s a ticket.  At worst it’s a class 3 misdemeanor.  Mecum claims that this is the first he’s heard of the infraction.  So send the guy a nasty letter.

Frankly, I’m seeing a trend that is extremely troubling.  John Kromko gets indicted for what looks like a trumped-up forgery and “identity theft” charge.  New Times editors get arrested–at home by undercover officers in an unmarked car.  Don Stapley indicted on 118 felony counts?  Give me a break.  Russ Jones–another bogus identity theft case.  Huppenthall?  Looks like he had permission to me. 

Sandra Dowling?  David Peterson?  Kevin Ross?  Doug Martin? Those cases generated big headlines, ruined promising careers and then fizzled.

And now DPS shows up in force to extract Brett Mecum from Republican Party Headquarters because he got a photo radar ticket?

Politics has always been risky–long odds, low pay, little respect.  Nearly all of my friends went out on a loss, but none of us got indicted for paperwork violations. Criminalizing politics is the first step toward anarchy. 

We aren’t there yet, but the trend is troubling. 

Post Script: 


DPS is a state agency and we have a new Republican Governor.  If DPS had walked into Democratic headquarters and arrested the Director of the state Democratic Party for an outstanding traffic violation, the media and political chattering class would be screaming about fascism and Kafka. 

Of course, DPS Director Roger Vanderpool is a Napolitano holdover who serves a fixed term so the argument about the outrageous way that Mechum’s arrest was handled still applies.

So let’s react to Mechum’s arrest the same way we would have reacted to the arrest of his Democratic counterpart.  Let’s see who authorized it and why it was handled so outrageously. 

I think Roger Vanderpool has some serious explaining to do.   


This sentence bothered me, but I couldn’t figure out why: “DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said Mecum…”

One of the commentors reminded me…Bart Graves is the former spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party.  Now things are making sense.  Why did the Arizona Guardian have the story so quickly?  They obviously got the information from DPS… no one from the Republican Party called them.

So DPS is run by a Napolitano holdover and the DPS spokesman is the former Communications Director for the Democratic Party and they decide to arrest the head of the Republican Party at Republican Party Headquarters, take him out in handcuffs and call the media to ensure that the story gets wide play and his mugshot is on every TV and in every paper in the state. 

This looks like the worst kind of political intimidation–especially in light of the fact that there are so many outstanding felony warrants that aren’t being served. 

It looks like the DPS structured this arrest for the maximum humiliation.  They arrested him at work, called the media, took him downtown for booking and a mug shot (which the media was primed to print) and then they will let the whole thing drop–after all, criminal speeding tickets aren’t prosecuted when the only evidence is from photo radar. 

If they had arrested him at home and not called the press, the whole incident never would have surfaced.  Mecum would have paid his $181 fine and his mug shot would have disappeared into the bowels of the county public records division. 

No, this was a political dirty trick of the cruelest order.