The presidential pardon of Joseph Michele Arpaio—the racist, former Arizona sheriff of Maricopa County who should have served a six month sentence for contempt of court—is disgraceful, but then again so is pretty much everything else about this administration and this president.
Arpaio, who liked to bill himself as “America’s toughest sheriff,” is cut from the same cloth as the president, a wanna-be tough guy, who is obsessed with his own media image. The son of Italian immigrants, who came “fresh off the boat” in the 1920s, he has made a life’s work of ruining the lives of people like his parents.
Arpaio’s 24-year rule of tyranny over the Phoenix metropolitan area was riddled with misconduct, incompetence and spectacle. Some “highlights” include: running a jail he himself described as a “concentration camp”; botching multiple sex-crime cases involving underage girls, because he spent the money allocated for investigation on “political witch hunts”; a wrongful death suit that cost the county $3.25 million; and sending a deputy to Hawaii to look for Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
But it was his unwavering and racist crusade against Latinos, whom he liked to arrest and hold in a separate area surrounded by electric fencing, which finally caught up with Arpaio. He defied a court order that demanded he stop profiling and detaining people on the “suspicion” that they were undocumented. This is the crime for which Trump pardoned him.
Typically presidential pardons are given to parties who have already served some portion of a sentence, people who are remorseful and have atoned for their wrongdoing. Arpaio never expressed even an ounce of regret for his conduct, he even hired a private investigator (using public funds of course) to dig up dirt on the judge who found him in contempt.
He was a law enforcement agent who believed himself above the law, and now he’s been pardoned by a president who seem believes the same thing about himself. (It’s worth noting too that there is an ongoing criminal investigation of Trump and that the president could very well choose to pardon someone held in contempt for refusing to testify against him.)
When 22 year-old immigrant Nicola Ciro Arpaio left his native Lacedonia, Italy for the United States in 1923, sailing across the Atlantic aboard the SS Presidente Wilson, he could not have known the legacy his son would build. And if Nicola were alive today, he would be ashamed and probably as outraged us.
Story by: Staff