Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative CommonsSheriff Joe Arpaio speaking at the 2014 Western Conservative Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
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President Donald Trump sent the wrong message to the country when he pardoned the disgrace to the name Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio does not appear to have a moral bone in his body. He has demonstrated this much by his years as sheriff in Arizona. A synonym to describe Arpaio is narcissistic, authoritarian former sheriff. Anybody who gives himself “America’s toughest sheriff” has to be full of himself. His nickname has been permanently associated with the reputation Arpaio built in the community he served.

The thin line Arpaio and his department walked was already blurry as was; they then stepped over that line into breaking the law. There was an apparent division between the community and Arpaio’s former police department. Never did Arpaio try to  a bridge for the minorities who often felt marginalized. One of the problems with Arpaio is he never was a sheriff for all the people he served, but the officer for the large conservative base in Arizona. Arpaio has not been remorseful or even apologized for his actions that broke up families who were deported, or to inmates that have been injured and  mistreated in his jails.

Arpaio has been called a racist during this tenured position. There has never been an attempt by Arpaio to defend his character in regard to being called a racist or bigot, until now since being pardoned. If actions speak louder then words, then Arpaio policies and actions showcase that he is a racist and has bigoted viewpoints. Arpaio may as well embrace that he is a racist like he has embraced being named former America’s toughest sheriff.

“The president has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law as Mr. Arpaio has shown no remorse for his actions, “ stated Republican Sen. John McCain.

Joe Arpaio for decades had been a hero for some for his crackdown on immigration, tough on the law approach. He has become to many  Latinos a menace– the symbol of anti-immigrant, and mistreatment.

Arpaio used to order his department to conduct “saturation patrol,” which is when police officers go patrolling primarily Latino neighborhoods to search for undocumented persons. Latinos have a right to fear and have deep mistrust for officers, when constantly harassed by police. Like in most communities under police control’, there were physiological effects on these communities. The police department’s job should be to serve and protect the communities but oftentimes all police officers were doing was  patrolling and intimidate and asking anyone brown if they were a citizen. Adolfo Maldonado, an engineer who tracked Arpaio’s patrol said to the New York Times:

“The guy is completely attacking an entire class of people based on their color,” Maldonado said,“He’s racial profiling.”

Maldonado is only one voice out of thousands

Arpaio’s hard stance on illegal immigration was an abuse by law enforcement. He created a jail known as Tent City.  In an interview New York Times Daily Podcast  with Michael Barboro with Fernanda Santos as his guest. When I listened to the podcast I was shocked  that a Tent City jail exists in America. Tent City resembles a jail out of the 19th century. During the 19th century time period inmates wore the colors black and white jumpsuits and labored shackles, exactly like Tent City. Fernanda Santos got the chance to visit and interview about Tent City with Arpaio. In the interview, Arpaio often boasts and defends the conditions of the jail. The controversial practices include having inmates wear pink underwear and pink towels, serving vegetarian meals, and having overpriced food in the vending machines. Arpaio got away with running this inhumane jail until this year, when he got voted out, and was replaced by Paul Penzone.

It is true; Trump had every right to pardon. Controversial pardons include: Gerald Ford, pardoned President Nixon after the Watergate scandal; Bill Clinton  pardoned Marc Rich who became a fugitive; and George W. Bush pardoned Caspar Weinberger’s for obstruction of justice. Typically pardons go through certain procedures for in order for the president to forgive a person. According to the Department of Justice a person must submit a petition to the Pardon Attorney, who will review and make a recommendation  before it goes to the president. He has hold the final authority to accept or deny. Arpaio admitted he never applied nor asked to be pardoned according to The Guardian.  

Pardons should not be used to wipe away crimes. Arpaio broke the law; he should not be treated any different from others who break the law. Trump’s pardon says, I’m okay with how you conducted yourself while being sheriff. With this pardon, Trump is not bringing people together but dividing the country by singling out one race and not being a president for all people.

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