MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS 5) — Google is cooperating with an investigation by Arizona authorities over a blogger’s posts against a controversial sheriff.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that deputies traveled to Google headquarters in Mountain View, saying the internet giant has been cooperative. Deputies are trying to track down a blogger that they said posted a death threat against Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

According to authorities, the threat showed a picture of Arpaio with the title “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” with the last word crossed out.

Arpaio, a lawman who has called himself the toughest sheriff in America, has received numerous death threats before but said this threat was credible.

Authorities said the blogger also praised the killer of Deputy William Coleman, who was gunned down in the line of duty last week, as a hero. A posting also showed the slain deputy with the words “Officer Down LOL!!!”

The site, which was hosted by Google’s Blogger service, has been removed.

Google declined an interview with CBS 5. The internet company released a statement that said, “Like all law-abiding companies, we comply with valid legal process.”

CNET executive editor Molly Wood said Google receives frequent requests from law enforcement to help track down people suspected of crimes.

“You know, there really does have to be a legal reason for a law enforcement agency to request this information, and in fact, a judge has to agree to grant a search warrant,” Wood said. “So it’s not like a company or a police department can just come in and say, ‘hey, I need all of the records on a certain person.’ There has to be a standard of proof.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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