Isaac Stone Simonelli/AZCIR

Isaac Stone Simonelli/AZCIR

Isaac Stone Simonelli is a Roy W. Howard Fellow for AZCIR as part of a year-long investigative reporting fellowship.

Despite warnings, safeguard to prevent extremist training for law enforcement removed

By: - May 1, 2023

Warnings issued by high-profile civil rights and advocacy groups to Arizona’s governor and attorney general failed to stop a rule change that effectively lowers the bar for extremist organizations attempting to radicalize law enforcement officers through government-funded training. Letters sent in March by the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the Anti-Defamation League and the […]

Arizona-based ‘constitutional sheriff’ group promotes members with ties to white nationalism

By: - February 21, 2023

The Arizona-based Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group described as anti-democratic by domestic extremism researchers, is elevating some of its most controversial members—including those with direct ties to other anti-government and white nationalism movements—into formal leadership positions. The CSPOA promoted long-time staffer and self-described “constitutional scholar” Sam Bushman to CEO while also adding […]

Experts warn of extremist push to expand sheriffs’ role in elections

By: - October 24, 2022

Prominent Arizona Oath Keeper Jim Arroyo turned on his hands-free microphone and stepped in front of the bright yellow banner of the Yavapai County Preparedness Team to explain “Operation: Drop Box.” “We’ve already coordinated with Sheriff (David) Rhodes,” Arroyo said during a July meeting of the Yavapai County Preparedness Team (YCPT), an Oath Keepers group […]

Mark Lamb constitutional sheriffs

Arizona ‘ground zero’ for extremist, anti-government sheriff movement

By: - October 21, 2022

Susan Wortman, 79, recognized the voice of the man approaching her from behind as she attempted to slip out of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting on Aug. 3. Wearing a badge on his belt and gun on his hip, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb’s tone was different from the warm greeting he’d given […]