"All people, even prisoners, deserve basic respect and human dignity. But Tent City in particular is a jail -- you might be there because you were charged with a crime you didn't commit. Or you might be there for a low-level crime, like driving under the influence.
"To make a place like that into your own personal "concentration camp," as Arpaio has done (his words), is more for self-promotion than for anything related to criminal justice."
--Ted Hesson, ABC News
President Trump suggested he will pardon Joe Arpaio, the Arizona lawman who once proclaimed himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” Trump's defense of Arpaio is typical of his misguided leadership and his twisted stance on immigration. With his careless diatribe, the president encourages the troubling racial divide in America.
Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt. His conviction came after years of implementing discriminatory policies, flouting the law, and violating the civil rights of the people he was elected to serve. The ACLU was one of the groups that brought the lawsuit against him. The 85-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced October 5 and could face up to six months in jail.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio guilty for defying a judge’s 2011 court order to refrain from racially profiling Latinos during patrols and turning them over to federal immigration authorities – a practice that had led to the detention of some Latinos who were citizens or legal residents.
Arpaio, himself, admitted in a Univision interview in March 2012 that he was still targeting people based on immigration status.
Arpaio has been a stanch Trump supporter. In 2012, both men were proponents of "birtherism," the claim that President Obama was not born in the United States.
(Melissa Etehad. “Joe Arpaio, former sheriff in Arizona, is found guilty of criminal contempt.” Los Angeles Times. July 31, 2017.)
Mr. Trump’s expression of support for Mr. Arpaio has ignited a debate about the tactics used to crack down on Latinos. Brian Tashman, strategist of the American Civil Liberties Union, gave five reasons Arpaio should not receive a presidential pardon ...
- In traffic stops, workplace raids, and neighborhood sweeps, Arpaio ordered deputies to target residents solely based on their ethnicity, often detaining people without reasonable suspicion that they were violating any laws that his office was allowed to enforce.
Latino drivers were from four to nine times more likely to be stopped by law enforcement
than non- Latinos. One-fifth of his office's immigration traffic stops violated Fourth
Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
- The people of Maricopa County paid the price for Arpaio’s pursuit of illegal immigration enforcement policies, suffering damage to community safety. In 2011, the Associated Press found that Arpaio’s office ignored hundreds of sex crime cases, including cases of alleged child abuse. One officer told the AP that many of those cases involved the children of undocumented immigrants.
- In Arpaio's Tent City, which he called “the tent where
all the Mexicans are,” people were purposely mistreated. They
were typically put into chain gangs and subjected to humiliating
practices like public parades.
Women of color in Arpaio’s jails were particularly mistreated. The Justice Department discovered cases where Latina detainees were “denied basic sanitary items” and were “forced to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation” or were put into “solitary confinement for extended periods of time because of their inability to understand and thus follow a command given in English.”
- People in Arpaio’s jails were subject to substandard
health care, sometimes to the point of extreme suffering, even
death. The ACLU challenged Arpaio over his failure to meet the
health needs of the people in his jails, and won in court when a
federal judge agreed that the deficient and dangerous health care
system violated detainees’ constitutional right to adequate care.
Detainees with mental illnesses were especially victimized in
The Phoenix New Times also discovered that “people hang themselves in the sheriff’s jail at a rate that dwarfs other county lockups,” comparing the medical care found at county jails to those of prisoner-of-war camps.
- Arpaio was known to intimidate supposed enemies, including
a judge's spouse, a political rival, a country official, and a
reporter. The Justice Department also found that his office
“engaged in a pattern or practice of retaliating against
individuals for exercising their First Amendment right to free
speech,” as deputies tried “to silence individuals who have
publicly spoken out and participated in protected demonstrations”
In one infamous case, people working under Arpaio staged an assassination attempt against him in order to boost his popularity – framing an innocent man in the process. He spent four years in jail waiting to clear his name and eventually received a $1.1 million settlement.
(Brian Tashman. “Five Reasons Racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio Should Not Receive a Presidential Pardon.” ACLU. aclu.org. August 22, 2017.)
Mind you, Trump calls Arpaio “an outstanding sheriff” and “a great American patriot.” After all, Trump supports racial profiling, too. He, like Arpaio, does this for self-promotion. And that is a major problem Americans must face about this president. In October 2016, then candidate Trump made it clear ...
“They [police officers] see somebody that’s suspicious, they will profile,” Trump said. “Look what’s going on: Do we really have a choice? We’re trying to be so politically correct in our country, and this is only going to get worse.”
(Ed Kilgore. “Trump Pondering Pardon for Racial Profiler Joe Arpaio. New York Magazine. August 14, 2017.)And, by the way, under DOJ regulations, a presidential pardon cannot be issued until five years after a criminal conviction. This doesn't seem to matter to Trump although he calls himself a great defender of law and order.
Donald Trump has gone out of his way to side with Arpaio and with the cause of blatant, vicious racism. When he wants something, he is willing to ignore the law. I'm sure white supremacists and other racist groups love the president for his stand – a stand that clearly shows he is incapable of viewing nonwhites as “American patriots.”