Donald Trump has sent not a dog whistle but an air raid siren out to his alt-right base tonight by pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the notoriously racist ex-sheriff from Arizona... Even before he's been sentenced!
Arpaio, who had previously named himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” was convicted for willfully violating a federal judge’s order by unlawfully detaining individuals he claimed might be in the country illegally based solely on the color of their skin or the ethnicity of their last name.
Also notable was a lawsuit filed after it had been found by the Justice Department that not only were Arpaio’s officers caught calling Latinos “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” “fucking Mexicans” and “stupid Mexicans,” but that Latino drivers were four to nine times as likely to be stopped by his officers as non-Latino drivers were. The case was settled in 2015.
But it was a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division that concluded there was reasonable cause to believe that Arpaio and his office engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful policing and racial profiling that finally landed Arpaio in real legal jeopardy.
After the case was tried Arpaio was found guilty of violating the 4th Amendment and convicted of criminal contempt for violating a 2011 order that barred Arpaio and his office from the practice of detaining individuals solely based on the previously mentioned criteria.
When handing down her ruling U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton said last month that the former sheriff had shown “flagrant disregard” for the 2011 order banning him from detaining people because he thought they were in the country illegally.
Arpaio was scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.
Now, despite the fact that Arpaio was guilty, had not yet received a sentence and was completely unrepentant for his crimes Trump still saw fit to pardon him.
Trump said in a statement released by the White House late tonight...
“Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration. 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.”
He then of course had to tweet about it...
If you were wondering Trump’s pardon of Arpaio skipped over the typical review process for pardons, which are usually routed through the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney but what the hell.
The pardon comes after a Tuesday evening rally in Phoenix in which Trump had signaled that the pardon was coming when he said to the crowd...
"So was Sheriff Joe was convicted for doing his job?" - applause - "I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine, OK."
Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, the first of his presidency, will undoubtably be seen as a tacit endorsement of Arpaio’s racially discriminatory tactics but read as a favor to a political ally whom adheres to Trump's anti-immigrant leanings.
The former sheriff, a craven media whore well known for parading inmates around in pink underwear, was an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign and spoke at the Republican National Convention last summer.
Another link the two men share is a rabid adherence to the racist conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States otherwise known as "birtherism".
Arpaio, who served as sheriff from 1993 through 2016, had long been accused of discriminatory practices against Latinos.