Donald Trump has pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who was found guilty last month on criminal contempt charges for violating federal laws against racial profiling, including his refusal to stop imprisoning suspected illegal immigrants.
The White House stated in their press release:
“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is [a] worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Last week, President Trump hinted at a pardon for Arpaio at a rally in Phoenix:
“I’ll make a prediction. I think [Arpaio]’s going to be just fine, OK? But I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy,” said the president, alluding to a pardon. “Is that OK? … But Sheriff Joe can feel good.”
Arpaio lost the re-election for Sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona the same night that Donald Trump won the presidential election. It would have been his seventh term in office. The former Sheriff became notorious for targeting Latinos throughout the county throughout his 24 years in office.
Thousands of Latino voters came together to stop Arpaio’s reign, supported by liberal investor George Soros who contributed more than $2 million to his opponent’s campaign.
In 2007 Arpaio was sued over his practice of arresting and jailing undocumented immigrants, and in 2013 a U.S. District Court judge ruled Maricopa County’s actions to be discriminatory and in violation of the Civil Rights Act.
Not surprisingly, Arpaio endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy in January 2016.