Trump Pardons Convicted Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The president on Friday evening pardoned the anti-immigration sheriff who was found guilty of racially profiling Latinos.


UPDATED: AUG. 25, 2017 / 8:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump on Friday night followed through on his suggestion earlier this week to pardon former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who last month was found guilty of criminal contempt after violating a court order that instructed him to stop racially profiling Latino motorists.

“Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?” Trump posed to attendees at a rally in Phoenix Tuesday where he hinted at the strong likelihood he would pardon Arpaio.

“Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?”

Both questions were met with applause.

“He should’ve had a jury, but you know what? I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s gonna be just fine, okay? But, but, but, I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy, is that okay? But Sheriff Joe can feel good.”

Arpaio, 85, prided himself as being “America’s toughest sheriff” while serving Maricopa County due to his hardline stance against immigration and his treatment of jail inmates.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton did not agree that Arpaio was “doing his job” when she last month found the former sheriff guilty of violating a 2011 court order from a different judge that instructed Arpaio’s officers to not racially profile against Latinos. Under Arpaio’s leadership, officers were arresting and detaining motorists simply under the suspicion that they were undocumented immigrants.

A 2011 Justice Department report found that Latinos drivers in Maricopa County were four to nine times more likely to be stopped than non-Latino drivers.

“Our review (which was conducted with the assistance of our expert law enforcement consultants) of all of the traffic-related incident reports generated by MCSO’s Human Smuggling Unit (‘HSU’) over a three-year period showed that roughly one-fifth of the reports, almost all of which involved Latino drivers, contained information indicating that the stops were conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable seizures,” according to the DOJ.

Trump’s move to pardon Arpaio would have been unprecedented because Arpaio has not even been sentenced yet. That hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5. He only faces up to six months in jail.

Three Arizona congressmen had signed a letter addressed to the president on Aug. 17 asking him not to pardon the racist sheriff.

Reps. Ruben Gallego, Tom O’Halleran and Raúl Grijalva, all Democrats, had expressed they were “gravely concerned” by the possibility.

“We believe public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes and that the rule of law should be applied fairly regardless of how powerful an office holder’s friends are,” the men stated.

Arpaio endorsed Trump for president during his campaign, and Trump has long been a supporter of Arpaio.

Arpaio and Trump both pushed the “birther” movement, making unsubstantiated claims that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

While still serving as sheriff, Arpaio formed a “Cold Case Posse,” which was tasked with investigating the conspiracy. Trump tweeted out his support for Arpaio’s cause in 2012.

Paul Penzone, who replaced Arpaio as Maricopa County’s sheriff, announced in January that the posse would be disbanded.

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  • Arpaio’s job was to uphold the law, including court orders with which he — personally — may have disagreed. So, this is just more BS from Trump, who is already telegraphing his intent to issue a pardon. By the way, the move would hardly be “unprecedented.” President Ford pardoned Nixon, who hadn’t even been charged with a criminal offense yet, much less convicted.

  • Doesn’t DOJ regulations require a 5 year period after conviction before being eligible for a pardon. So big Trump is going to circuvent this reg. Let him try.

    • Yeah, so this would be before a conviction which would prevent any further litigation under a pardon.

  • To me the biggest problem with Arpaio is that his racial profiling stance lead to more traffic stops for members of the profiled race. More stops means more interactions with police that can lead to more fines, tickets and negative encounters with officers including death (if the officer(s) have an itchy trigger finger) for members of that race. His methods probably led to countless deaths or wrongful imprisonments (just imagine being Hispanic and forgetting your wallet). SMH.

  • What kills me in all of these discussions about stopping alleged, potentially, maybe undocumented immigrants is that the concern centers around parts of the U.S. that was Mexico territory until 1848 when the U.S. claimed it, including the area now known as the state of Arizona. So, even descendants of “early Mexico/now U.S” are being subjected to these stop, search and seize tactics. And guess what would happen if you told an officer, “My people were here long before yours.”

      • You’re just as much to blame for illegal immigration as the invaders themselves. “I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed me” what a limp wristed liberal girly man thing to say.

        • Johnny:
          The phrase refers to when America took over the Mexican territory in the 19th century that became the States of Arizona,New Mexico,California,and Texas. Do the research before you start whining about this or that being “liberal”. And,oh,BTW, it was liberals who started the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the movement to change and update laws concerning sexual assault and rape (to get those crimes taken far more seriously than they were even 40 or 50 years ago) and the environmental movement,which keeps our lands safe from pollution, and situations like the Flint water crisis to a minimum (of course, the new head of the EPA, who is anti-EPA and has no business heading the agency, is trying to get rid of any rules preventing corporations from abiding by any restrictions on them polluting anything.) Try telling the early civil right activists that they were “limp-wristed” to their faces. Oh, and the gentleman who helped organized and got the ball rolling to make the 1963 March On Washington happen–who was named Bayard Rustin, and was an activist himself, was gay. You know, the type you so ignorantly referred to as “limp-wristed”, whatever that even means. Also your statement is ridiculous and make no sense at all.

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