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Pinal candidate won’t leave race despite questions of police record

PHOENIX — Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu called for the resignation Thursday of an Apache Junction candidate seeking public office in this year’s general election.

Babeu called for the withdrawal of John Acton, the Republican candidate for Apache Junction Justice Court Constable, after alleging that Acton had been impersonating a police officer and falsifying his service history as a Chicago police officer.

According to Babeu, Acton never worked for the Chicago Police Department.

“He served as a security officer for the Chicago Transit Authority,” he said.

Along with questioning his work as a Chicago police officer, Babeu said Acton claims to have worked as a homicide detective and assisted in undercover operations, which Babeu also alleges are untrue.

Acton’s website said he was a police officer in the Chicago area, but does not specifically mention the CPD.

My military education and experience led to a law enforcement career as a police officer working in the Chicago area where I also served my fellow officers as union steward. During this lengthy career I came face to face with numerous challenges from simple disorderly conduct to serious felonies. I rose from Patrolman to Investigative Detective and achieved and maintained a conviction rate of 99% losing only two cases in my police career.

With Acton having won the Republican nod for constable, Babeu said it is important that the inaccuracies in Acton’s history are known.

“This is a case of a candidate, who has run several times — this is his third run for office — yet now he has a real possibility of getting elected,” he said.

Babeu said Acton owes the community an apology and is calling for him to withdrawal, or face criminal charges related to fraud.

“Back out now and avoid this whole mess that you created, otherwise there is a whole world of trouble coming your way,” said Babeu.

Acton however, claims Babeu has his facts wrong and he will not be dropping out of the race and welcomed any attempts at prosecution by Babeu’s office.

He claimed Babeu is bullying him into dropping out of the race.

“He wanted to get my name off of the ballot,” Acton said. “Who is he to do that?”

Acton said he worked for the Chicago Transit Authority as a security officer in the 1970s and, though his title was “security officer,” he was uniformed, had policing powers and made arrests.

Acton said he believes it’s evident that Babeu does not like him and wants him to bow out, but he steadfastly denied dropping from the race.

“Win the election … that’s what I want to do,” said Acton. “And I’m going to win the election.”

Babeu said he had recused himself from investigating Acton but said he has spoken with and received support from the Pinal County Attorney’s and Arizona Attorney General’s offices.