Republic shuts down ex-cop's blog

By Nick R. Martin | September 1st, 2010 | 12:05 am | 50 Comments »

Bill Richardson photo
Bill Richardson

Of the many blogs written by outside contributors to the Arizona Republic‘s website, Bill Richardson’s was perhaps the most critical of the region’s police and their practices.

Now, the retired Mesa police officer says the the state’s largest newspaper has given in to outside pressure from those who wanted his criticism silenced. The newspaper closed down his blog, deleted all his old posts and blocked him from even commenting elsewhere on its website.

“The Republic called me and told me it was being shut down,” Richardson said in an email to Heat City on Tuesday. “They shut down everything and even wiped out my Republic account where I can comment on other people’s blogs or columns.”

Richardson said one of the paper’s opinion editors, Joanna Allhands, called him Monday to tell him the blog was being yanked because of recent posts he had written about the Tempe Police Department.

That decision, Richardson said, came after the department’s police chief, Tom Ryff, and one of his advisers complained about the blog to the Republic.

“The Tempe PD was pissed about my hitting them on crime issues,” Richardson said, pointing to four posts he wrote since the beginning of August, including one in which he said the city “continues to lead the region in violent crime.”

But reached by phone late Tuesday, Allhands flatly denied the move was made because of Richardson’s criticism of Tempe.

“No, that’s not correct,” she said when asked about the allegation. Still, she refused to explain why Richardson’s blog was closed or why his entire archive was deleted from the website.

Allhands called the matter “an internal decision” and referred all other questions to the newspaper’s top editor, Randy Lovely.

Lovely’s assistant, meanwhile, said he was on vacation until next week and would not likely return any phone calls before then.


Click for a larger look at the way Richardson’s blog looked after the Arizona Republic shut it down.

A Tempe police spokesman also denied that the agency had anything to do with the Republic‘s decision, saying no one there had even voiced concerns about Richardson’s blog.

“To answer your question, no,” Sgt. Steve Carbajal said. “Nobody from the department, including the chief, has made a complaint to the Republic.”

Carbajal said a journalist with another news organization had called to look into the matter on Monday and that was the first he’d heard about it.

Regardless of why, however, it’s clear that the Republic has taken the unusual step of scrubbing Richardson’s work from its website without any public explanation.

Richardson, who also occasionally wrote for the newspaper’s op-ed page, said he was invited by the Republic to start blogging last year.

Since then he has written dozens of posts, many of them focusing on issues in law enforcement as well as in Tempe (that’s where he lives.) He was often critical of police policies, but he sometimes wrote positive stories about local law enforcement, too.

Now, visitors to his former home on the web are greeted with a simple message: “The blog requested does not exist.”

Except that’s not entirely true either; Google cached most of Richardson’s posts from the time he started writing the blog. They are, at least for now, available to anyone who wants to read them.


  • Get this guy on Posterous or WordPress now!

  • Get this guy on Posterous or WordPress now!

  • testing…

  • Bill Richardson

    According to the Arizona Republic, my Blog was dropped following a letter they received from the Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff and his assistant Charles Cobbs. I don’t know where Sgt. Carbajal is getting his information?

    Who isn’t telling the truth?

    And what about the letters attacking me the NAACP sent to the Arizona Republic at the behest of members of the Tempe PD?

    The 1st Amendment is dying on the vine in the City of Tempe.

  • Bruce Reynolds-

    My name is Bruce Reynolds- I am a former colleague of Bill Richardson. I recently sent the folliwng letter to the AZ Republic after reading the column that offended the Tempe PD.

    “Tell me Bill, why do you even care?”

    This statement was made by a Tempe police official when Bill Richardson, a columnist and retired Master Police Officer asked about violent crime in their city. Having worked for 16 years in law enforcement (including 14 in an Easy Valley police department) I was appalled at the comment. It is an insensitive and inappropriate comment for any public safety official to make to anyone.

    I am currently working overseas and have been for the past 19 years. This is the type of comment that you would expect from a government official in China, Burma, India or some other developing nation where life is cheap and corruption is the norm. For an management level official of a USA law enforcement agency to have the attitude reflected in this comment is disgusting.

    The Tempe Police official that made this statement should apologize to the victims of every violent crime in Tempe, Arizona and the USA. Then they should go and tender their resignation. Failing that, the Chief of Police should demand it.

    What are we becoming when those we appoint to protect us have no heart or soul?

    • Eleanor

      What if is the Chief who uttered those lame words?

      • Bill Richardson

        It was the chief’s assistant, Charles Cobbs.

        • Eleanor

          Right on, Bill!!!

    • Richard Murphey

      Hello Bruce! This is Dick Murphey also a former colleague of both you and Bill. I’ve been on Bill’s mailing list for several years and found him driving in his effort to get east Valley Police to work better together. The old statewide criminal information organization folded and that’s it, I guess. We need information diggers for every department……

  • Bill Richardson

    According to the Arizona Republic, my Blog was dropped following a letter they received from the Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff and his assistant Charles Cobbs. I don't know where Sgt. Carbajal is getting his information?

    Who isn't telling the truth?

    And what about the letters attacking me the NAACP sent to the Arizona Republic at the behest of members of the Tempe PD?

    The 1st Amendment is dying on the vine in the City of Tempe.

  • Bruce Reynolds-

    My name is Bruce Reynolds- I am a former colleague of Bill Richardson. I recently sent the folliwng letter to the AZ Republic after reading the column that offended the Tempe PD.

    “Tell me Bill, why do you even care?”

    This statement was made by a Tempe police official when Bill Richardson, a columnist and retired Master Police Officer asked about violent crime in their city. Having worked for 16 years in law enforcement (including 14 in an Easy Valley police department) I was appalled at the comment. It is an insensitive and inappropriate comment for any public safety official to make to anyone.

    I am currently working overseas and have been for the past 19 years. This is the type of comment that you would expect from a government official in China, Burma, India or some other developing nation where life is cheap and corruption is the norm. For an management level official of a USA law enforcement agency to have the attitude reflected in this comment is disgusting.

    The Tempe Police official that made this statement should apologize to the victims of every violent crime in Tempe, Arizona and the USA. Then they should go and tender their resignation. Failing that, the Chief of Police should demand it.

    What are we becoming when those we appoint to protect us have no heart or soul?

  • Bob Satnan

    I’d like to say complaints about Bill’s work is something new, but he has long been a needed thorn in the side to Valley law enforcement. Bill understands the issues and has worked hard to champion regional cooperation to better serve residents and keep them safe. When he wrote for the EVTrib while I was editorial page editor there, MCSO was constantly calling or e-mailing to complain about his columns; the difference is we stood up to the complainers and continued to give Bill a platform to write about meaningful local issues.

  • Eleanor

    Thanks for writing about this Mr. Martin. The lies that have come out of the Police Department only seem to get more and more ridiculous. Mr. Richardson has been working hard to write about things that need to be addressed in Tempe. Our City is a mess and our leadership is even worse. The idea that the Editors at the Republic caved to the intimidation is apalling. There have been many people who have been caving into the intimidation tactics used by the leadership in Tempe. Unfortunately this only allows them to believe they can get away with such behavior.

  • Bob Satnan

    I'd like to say complaints about Bill's work is something new, but he has long been a needed thorn in the side to Valley law enforcement. Bill understands the issues and has worked hard to champion regional cooperation to better serve residents and keep them safe. When he wrote for the EVTrib while I was editorial page editor there, MCSO was constantly calling or e-mailing to complain about his columns; the difference is we stood up to the complainers and continued to give Bill a platform to write about meaningful local issues.

  • Eleanor

    What if is the Chief who uttered those lame words?

  • Eleanor

    Thanks for writing about this Mr. Martin. The lies that have come out of the Police Department only seem to get more and more ridiculous. Mr. Richardson has been working hard to write about things that need to be addressed in Tempe. Our City is a mess and our leadership is even worse. The idea that the Editors at the Republic caved to the intimidation is apalling. There have been many people who have been caving into the intimidation tactics used by the leadership in Tempe. Unfortunately this only allows them to believe they can get away with such behavior.

  • Richard Murphey

    Hello Bruce! This is Dick Murphey also a former colleague of both you and Bill. I've been on Bill's mailing list for several years and found him driving in his effort to get east Valley Police to work better together. The old statewide criminal information organization folded and that's it, I guess. We need information diggers for every department……

  • Suzanne

    Now that law enforcement controls the content of this major metropolitan newspaper, I find everything written in The Arizona Republic to be suspect. Apparently, both TPD and The Arizona Republic have taken issue with facts and accurate statistics, so the response was to kill the messenger – no pun intended given the murder rate in Tempe.

  • The great thing about democracies and free speech is that Bill can have another blog up in about 20 minutes and people can start listening to him there. Or, some well-known website in the local area should adopt the man, give him a platform, and let him continue to be an advocate for better Justice.

  • There is a lot of interesting information on Ryff. Not a huge fan of Richardson, he is old school and has a tendency to fly off the handle without having all the facts. I will agree while most of his rants are justified, he discredits himself with Hawaii 5-0 age police mentality. Richardson may have kept his blog had he not come across as a caustic hot head.

  • Dave

    What stinks is Richardson’s attempt to be a reporter. Bill Richardson talks out of both ends. He bashes cops on a regular basis. There is no fowl play here – Richardson is a grouchy old man who does not check his facts.

    What goes around comes around, Bill. BTW, giving yourself made-up titles like “master” officer or reporter doesn’t shun you from public backlash.

    • Hadenuf

      Who are you calling grouchy? Sounds like you are the one who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Didn’t your mother ever teach you……if you don’t have something nice to say…….don’t say anything?!

  • Dave

    What stinks is Richardson's attempt to be a reporter. Bill Richardson talks out of both ends. He bashes cops on a regular basis. There is no fowl play here – Richardson is a grouchy old man who does not check his facts.

    What goes around comes around, Bill. BTW, giving yourself made-up titles like “master” officer or reporter doesn't shun you from public backlash.

  • Coper1658@aol.com

    The ousting of retired Mesa police detective and Arizona Republic investigative reporter/Blogger from the Arizona Republic leaves the paper with just one and one half investigative reporters. Unfortunately with Don Bolles murdered and then the Arizona Republic driving Al Sitter into early retirement and the paper and east valley theocratic building contractors running off Jon Talton the paper is left with Bill Goodykoontz as one of the few good journalists on staff. Of course Richard Nilsen is good but he only shows up every other month.
    The city of Tempe and the Tempe Police department have been on a downslide since the city decided to upgrade to high end markets that most folks in Tempe and especially students could not afford to cater too.
    The current police chief is a former shiny misdemeanor motorcycle cop. He is a career bureaucrat with little history of success as a credible felony investigator. Tempe City Hall and upper police management has become more politically goal oriented towards keeping their positions than effective in solving problems.
    Regarding Oscar Tillman, his credibility is in question as how effective he is too the community he purports to represent and he is just a shadow of a real leader compared to men like former city councilman Calvin Goode and business leader Lincoln Ragsdale, whose Sky Room Jazz club provided me with great music in the 50’s and 60’s.
    Lovely and administrators at the Arizona Republic are mere mortals compared to the gods that once ruled the Arizona Republic. Consequently don’t expect them to stand tall for the world of Atlas has given way to a world where entertainment GoodyKontz speak is the most important thing on the American horizon.
    “Shiny” administrators and politicians is not a new phenomena just a fact of American life. If it looks good, it must be good. In 1984, police chief Ruben Ortega commented negatively about the shiny appearance of society. He said, in today’s world, “An ounce of an appearance is worth a pound of performance.” Not much has changed.
    It’s a sad world where the only real investigative newspaper in Phoenix is the T/A New Times. But to their credit they have hung in there when lesser men have folded to the tide of inbred moronic thinking. Hello Orwell.
    Cal Lash – Retired Phoenix Police Officer /Detective & Supervisor in Uniform, Organized Crime, Narcotics, Internal affairs, Robbery, Communications, Walking Beats and Administrative assistant to Police Chiefs Lawrence Wetzel and Ruben Ortega.

  • Coper1658@aol.com

    The ousting of retired Mesa police detective and Arizona Republic investigative reporter/Blogger from the Arizona Republic leaves the paper with just one and one half investigative reporters. Unfortunately with Don Bolles murdered and then the Arizona Republic driving Al Sitter into early retirement and the paper and east valley theocratic building contractors running off Jon Talton the paper is left with Bill Goodykoontz as one of the few good journalists on staff. Of course Richard Nilsen is good but he only shows up every other month.
    The city of Tempe and the Tempe Police department have been on a downslide since the city decided to upgrade to high end markets that most folks in Tempe and especially students could not afford to cater too.
    The current police chief is a former shiny misdemeanor motorcycle cop. He is a career bureaucrat with little history of success as a credible felony investigator. Tempe City Hall and upper police management has become more politically goal oriented towards keeping their positions than effective in solving problems.
    Regarding Oscar Tillman, his credibility is in question as how effective he is too the community he purports to represent and he is just a shadow of a real leader compared to men like former city councilman Calvin Goode and business leader Lincoln Ragsdale, whose Sky Room Jazz club provided me with great music in the 50’s and 60’s.
    Lovely and administrators at the Arizona Republic are mere mortals compared to the gods that once ruled the Arizona Republic. Consequently don’t expect them to stand tall for the world of Atlas has given way to a world where entertainment GoodyKontz speak is the most important thing on the American horizon.
    “Shiny” administrators and politicians is not a new phenomena just a fact of American life. If it looks good, it must be good. In 1984, police chief Ruben Ortega commented negatively about the shiny appearance of society. He said, in today’s world, “An ounce of an appearance is worth a pound of performance.” Not much has changed.
    It’s a sad world where the only real investigative newspaper in Phoenix is the T/A New Times. But to their credit they have hung in there when lesser men have folded to the tide of inbred moronic thinking. Hello Orwell.
    Cal Lash – Retired Phoenix Police Officer /Detective & Supervisor in Uniform, Organized Crime, Narcotics, Internal affairs, Robbery, Communications, Walking Beats and Administrative assistant to Police Chiefs Lawrence Wetzel and Ruben Ortega.

  • Hadenuf

    Who are you calling grouchy? Sounds like you are the one who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Didn’t your mother ever teach you……if you don’t have something nice to say…….don’t say anything?!

  • Anyone have this guy’s contact info?

  • Anyone have this guy’s contact info?

  • Phxcolumbo

    I have read Bill’s blogs on a regular basis. I haven’t always agreed with all he has said but the articles about Tempe P.D. are accurate. Violent Crime has risen greatly and the two current high profile cases are going Cold as here are no leads, per all the articles I read. Now those article came from the AZ Republic Newspaper. I can only see that as always stated the AZ Republic is a liberal inaccurate outlet where they don’t report the news but state their often wrong opinion. What ever happen to reporters like Bill Richardson who state facts? Now isn’t the time to give in to political pressure but to stand tall and state the truth. Bill keep on reporting on your own blog and keep the pressure on both the Tempe Police Department and the failing AZ Republic Newspaper. Bill state writing for the New Times, as they seem now to be the only real news outlet here.

  • Phxcolumbo

    I have read Bill’s blogs on a regular basis. I haven’t always agreed with all he has said but the articles about Tempe P.D. are accurate. Violent Crime has risen greatly and the two current high profile cases are going Cold as here are no leads, per all the articles I read. Now those article came from the AZ Republic Newspaper. I can only see that as always stated the AZ Republic is a liberal inaccurate outlet where they don’t report the news but state their often wrong opinion. What ever happen to reporters like Bill Richardson who state facts? Now isn’t the time to give in to political pressure but to stand tall and state the truth. Bill keep on reporting on your own blog and keep the pressure on both the Tempe Police Department and the failing AZ Republic Newspaper. Bill state writing for the New Times, as they seem now to be the only real news outlet here.

  • Bill Richardson

    Who is telling the truth? The Tempe Police Department or the Arizona Republic?

    This information came from heatcity.com

    Tempe police spokesman also denied that the agency had anything to do with the Republic’s decision, saying no one there had even voiced concerns about Richardson’s blog.“To answer your question, no,” Sgt. Steve Carbajal said. “Nobody from the department, including the chief, has made a complaint to the Republic.”

    This information came from the Arizona Republic.

    We did receive a complaint regarding Mr. Richardson’s blog and our investigation found no wrong-doing on his part. Unfortunately, he then sent a letter that we felt was an act of intimidation. We have a strict policy that investigates any complaints against the paper without prejudice so that we insure we’re not leveraging our position in an unfair way. The public must be able to voice concerns without fear of retribution.

    Randy Lovely

    I was told by the paper they received a complaint from Tempe Chief Tom Ryff and his assistant Charles Cobbs.

    Below is the email I sent to Tempe officials after I was told the NAACP sent two letters to the Arizona Republic. A Tempe police employee made this complaint. The NAACP has refused to release the complaint, the two letters it wrote or its secret investigation of me.

    August 13, 2010

    Chief Ryff and Mr. Cobbs:

    Did either of you have anything to do with the NAACP writing multiple letters to the newspapers I write for complaining about my purported involvement in the operating the tempepolicecloset.com website along with concerns about my having a racial bias?

    If so, please tell me what you based your representations about me on?

    Also, if you were involved, did any of your efforts take place on city time and involve city equipment or any other city personnel besides the two of you?

    I look forward to an immediate and honest response.

  • Bill Richardson

    Who is telling the truth? The Tempe Police Department or the Arizona Republic?

    This information came from heatcity.com

    Tempe police spokesman also denied that the agency had anything to do with the Republic’s decision, saying no one there had even voiced concerns about Richardson’s blog.“To answer your question, no,” Sgt. Steve Carbajal said. “Nobody from the department, including the chief, has made a complaint to the Republic.”

    This information came from the Arizona Republic.

    We did receive a complaint regarding Mr. Richardson’s blog and our investigation found no wrong-doing on his part. Unfortunately, he then sent a letter that we felt was an act of intimidation. We have a strict policy that investigates any complaints against the paper without prejudice so that we insure we’re not leveraging our position in an unfair way. The public must be able to voice concerns without fear of retribution.

    Randy Lovely

    I was told by the paper they received a complaint from Tempe Chief Tom Ryff and his assistant Charles Cobbs.

    Below is the email I sent to Tempe officials after I was told the NAACP sent two letters to the Arizona Republic. A Tempe police employee made this complaint. The NAACP has refused to release the complaint, the two letters it wrote or its secret investigation of me.

    August 13, 2010

    Chief Ryff and Mr. Cobbs:

    Did either of you have anything to do with the NAACP writing multiple letters to the newspapers I write for complaining about my purported involvement in the operating the tempepolicecloset.com website along with concerns about my having a racial bias?

    If so, please tell me what you based your representations about me on?

    Also, if you were involved, did any of your efforts take place on city time and involve city equipment or any other city personnel besides the two of you?

    I look forward to an immediate and honest response.

  • testing…

    • eleanor

      Awesome! Thank you.

  • Bill Richardson

    AmyVernon-
    Thanks
    Bill

  • Bill Richardson

    AmyVernon-
    Thanks
    Bill

  • Bill Richardson
  • Bill Richardson

    It was the chief’s assistant, Charles Cobbs.

  • Eleanor

    Right on, Bill!!!

  • eleanor

    Awesome! Thank you.

  • I’ve now blogged on this – Arizona Republic newspaper website shuts down and deletes retired police-officer Bill Richardson’s blog.

    But I have a question – is there anything we can do to be of practical help to Bill Richardson?

  • I’ve now blogged on this – Arizona Republic newspaper website shuts down and deletes retired police-officer Bill Richardson’s blog.

    But I have a question – is there anything we can do to be of practical help to Bill Richardson?

  • Pete

    I have lived in Tempe for close to 40 years and I appreciate the constant improvement in the job the Tempe PD has done, especially over the last 10 years. There has been a 60% reduction in Part 1 crimes over that period. As a home owner, I am especially appreciative of the huge reduction in property crimes. I was a regular reader of Bill’s blog. He definately had some sort of axe to grind. He cherry picked data better than the pre-Iraq War Bush White House. Bill went out of his way to denigrate an entire department to the extent that, when he mentioned intelligence sharing among East Valley departments, he would leave Tempe out of the list. The only reason there
    was a “huge increase” (sarcasm) in violent crimes between 2008 and 2009 was because there had been a larger than average drop in the preceding year. It is unfortunate that the Republic dropped him. I was hoping that eventually he would reveal his real motives. Now we will never know.

  • Pete

    I have lived in Tempe for close to 40 years and I appreciate the constant improvement in the job the Tempe PD has done, especially over the last 10 years. There has been a 60% reduction in Part 1 crimes over that period. As a home owner, I am especially appreciative of the huge reduction in property crimes. I was a regular reader of Bill’s blog. He definately had some sort of axe to grind. He cherry picked data better than the pre-Iraq War Bush White House. Bill went out of his way to denigrate an entire department to the extent that, when he mentioned intelligence sharing among East Valley departments, he would leave Tempe out of the list. The only reason there
    was a “huge increase” (sarcasm) in violent crimes between 2008 and 2009 was because there had been a larger than average drop in the preceding year. It is unfortunate that the Republic dropped him. I was hoping that eventually he would reveal his real motives. Now we will never know.

  • that was one of the hottest topic for past couple of years.i think Miami Private Investigator was in charge of this case.

  • hey you nuts!! this news has no existence now..Indianapolis Private Investigators.