I guess it won’t come as any surprise to readers of this blog that I am no fan of “Sheriff Joe”. Funnily enough, my conservative temperament tends to side against people who routinely ignore violent crime to pursue illegal immigration, whose myriad abuses have resulted in multiple deaths and $140 million in settlements and compound their illegal actions by ignoring a court order. The later finally resulted in a misdemeanor conviction for contempt of court although sentence had yet to be passed. Arpaio claims this was an Obama vendetta, but the case was about as clear-cut as cases get: brought by a federal judge, referred to the DOJ and pursued by career lawyers in Public Integrity.
Arpaio has been a hero in conservative circles for a while given his aggressive pursuit of illegal immigrants and his humiliation of prisoners. He shouldn’t be. The Phoenix New Times has been covering his abuses for years. Here’s a sampling:
We've been covering Joe Arpaio for more than 20 years. Here's a couple of things you should know about him… 1/many
— PhoenixNewTimes (@phoenixnewtimes) August 26, 2017
Click the link, then scroll down. And while I would dubious of characterizing him as “one of the most racist evil men alive”, this thread also catalogues his abuses:
As an Arizonan I've heard horrific stories about Arpaio all my life. He is one of the most racist, evil men alive. Here are some examples:
— Nicole Silverberg (@nsilverberg) August 26, 2017
Web cams in women’s bathrooms, fake assassination attempts, using his office to spy on his opponents, detaining or arresting every Hispanic in sight, arresting reporters, denying critical care to prisoners (one instance of which results in the death of a baby). Call that “tough on crime” if you want. I call it lawlessness and thuggery.
This comes up because Donald Trump just pardoned him. While I support the use of the Presidential pardon, I am very conscious of ways it can be abused (e.g., Marc Rich). This falls into that category. Of all the people Trump could have pardoned, this is the first one he picks. I suspect its partially because he likes Arpaio (and David Clarke, another “hero” whose abuse of the law is legendary). And also partially Arpaio was an early Trump supporter.
So … to sum up … Trump just pardoned one of the most unlawful “lawmen” in America because he was a supporter.
So much for draining the swamp.