Arizona's Largest Paper: Arpaio Pardon an 'Insult' to Latinos

Saul Bowman
August 27, 2017

President Donald Trump announced Friday evening he was pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, after hinting he would do so at a Phoenix rally.

Republican Arizona Senator John McCain said officers of the law "should always seek to be beyond reproach" in their commitment to fairly enforce the law.

First, Arpaio was found guilty of racially profiling Latino motorists, and last month, a federal court convicted him of criminal contempt after he disobeyed a court order to stop the practice.

Photo Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed Donald Trump at a rally in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 2016.

DNC Chair Tom Perez says in a statement that "prejudice doesn't deserve a pardon" and that Trump "just gave a free pass to his buddy Joe Arpaio, the nation's most notorious agent of racism and bigotry". "Joe Arpaio ignored the courts and the rule of law in order to systematically target Latinos in AZ", he said on Twitter. But they said nothing when Barack Obama pardoned scores of terrorists and convicted felons from the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a.k.a. - "Gitmo").

"I believe Sheriff Joe deserves credit for helping to reduce crime in Maricopa County over his long career in law enforcement and public office".

Updated at 9:01 include statement from Hilarie Bass; updated at 9:06 p.m. with tweets from Arpaio, Flake.

Beyond the politics of pardoning someone who shares his views on immigration, Trump also could be sending a message to his former and current aides embroiled in the investigation into alleged collusion with Russian Federation, conservative commentator Bill Kristol noted.

Rep. Raul Grijalva tweeted, "Joe Arpaio does not deserve a pardon".

The White House legal team had also advised Mr. Trump to wait until Arpaio was sentenced, saying the sentence could be lenient and not include any jail time for Arpaio.

The reaction to Arpaio's pardon was equally as sharp outside of Latino civil rights community.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was grilled on the issue during a press briefing earlier this week, and noted that the president would make his decision when it was an "appropriate time". Arpaio supported Trump early one.

In a statement, Stanton says Arpaio received "a fair trial and a justifiable conviction" and there's nothing President Donald Trump can do "to change that very bad legacy and the stain he has left on our community". Arpaio was described by a DOJ expert as overseeing the worst pattern of racial profiling in USA history.

"He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration", Trump said in the interview.

"It just looks like a political stunt, basically, as opposed to an act of policy", Ruckman said. The fact that Arpaio was pardoned for a misdemeanor offense, which carries a penalty of less than a year in jail, is also unusual.

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