Arpaio’s Pardon Sets a Dangerous Precedent

It’s been the top story almost all weekend.  Trump has pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He was convicted for criminal contempt of court.  He was scheduled to be sentenced October 5.  Instead, Trump has pardoned him.

Many experts point out the horrendous display from Trump as being as divisive as ever.  Indeed, this is doing nothing but setting a precedent.  Now crooked and racist police all over the country know that the President stands at their backs.


Arpaio is so corrupt, that reading about what he and his deputies have been getting away with is quite like reading a work of fiction.  It is difficult to believe it’s true.

He built his prison in the desert.  It is called a tent city.  He houses prisoners there.  They live under canvas tarps year round.  The prisoners are subjected to hard labor, marched through towns, chain gangs, and they get two sandwiches a day.  Female prisoners have had to sleep in their own menstrual blood.  Temperatures can reach up to 140 degrees.

They hate me, the Hispanic community, because they’re afraid they’re going to be arrested.  And they’re all leaving town, so I think we’re doing something good, if they’re leaving. – Joe Arpaio

He is so obsessed with “busting Mexicans” that he ignored hundreds of sexual abuse cases, many of them children.  He conducted raids on businesses to search out undocumented workers.  He has arrested his political opponents as an intimidation tactic.

He has been responsible for deporting and jailing thousands upon thousands of Latinos.  In his entire career, however, he has only arrested three white business owners for hiring undocumented workers.  Seriously.  Only 3.


It started years and years ago when a federal judge entered an injunction against him.  It stated that “states do not have the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law.”  He was ordered to stop the raids, and the traffic stops guilty of doing nothing but being dark skinned.

Arpaio refused to listen.  Over the next five years, two federal judged found that he was guilty of not abiding by the injunction.

He not only blatantly disregarded the order, but he also bragged about it on national television consistently.  As a result, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found him guilty of civil contempt of court.  This was still not enough to stop the sheriff, however.

Snow then did an incredibly rare thing and referred the case to another judge for criminal contempt of court.  Arpaio was found guilty and should have been facing up to 6 months in prison.  His sentencing was scheduled for October 5th.

Trump pardoned Arpaio last Friday.


If you wondered how he could get away with these atrocities, it is because he is an elected official.  His power was largely unchecked.  The fact that Trump has now pardoned him from any wrongdoing has sent a clear message to every racist sheriff and police officer in the country.

Sadly the message is not one that will heal the divided nation.  Quite the opposite.  These “law enforcement officials” now feel more emboldened than ever to be just as corrupt as they want.


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