As the country prepared for the devastating arrival of Hurricane Harvey, President Trump announced he would pardon embattled Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.
"Throughout his time as sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon," Trump said.
The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for demonstrating “flagrant disregard” for another federal judge’s order to stop his signature immigration round-ups. Arpaio's office paid more than $146 million in fees, settlements and court awards.
Racial profiling wasn't the only abuse committed by Arpaio.
From National Review:
During his tenure as sheriff, at least 160 inmates died from brutality, neglect, suicide, disease, bad health, or old age in Arpaio’s jails. In many cases we have no way of knowing the cause of death, because the sheriff’s office never bothered to investigate.
From the Foundation for Economic Education:
Operating on the premise that all those who enter the system are undeserving of dignity, Sheriff Joe was once dubbed the “meanest man in the west,” and this was not without cause.
Sheriff Joe preferred to operate his correctional facilities like prison camps, where routine humiliation and dehumanizing techniques were used with pleasure. In these facilities, the incarcerated population was forced to sleep outside in old Korean War tents, exposed to the elements of the Arizona desert, even in extreme weather.
Forcing his prisoners, both men and women alike, to don old fashioned “chain-gang” striped jumpsuits, Arpaio is a firm believer in humiliation. In fact, he has frequently been heard bragging in front of the inmates that he spends more on food for his guard dogs than he does on his inmates. A fact that is unfortunately all too true.
For his first presidential pardon, Trump certainly made a controversial choice.
What do you think? Did Arpaio deserve a presidential pardon? Take the poll: