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Should Trump Pardon AZ Sheriff Arpaio?

by Countable | 8.21.17

All eyes are on Phoenix this week, especially those of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Trump plans to hold a campaign-style rally in Arizona on Tuesday evening, and there’s been talk that he could pardon the former Maricopa Sheriff during it.

Already a hot-button issue in a state known for its heat, further raising the temperature is that this is the President’s first post-Charlottesville rally—and that the person he’s considering pardoning was sentenced for targeting a minority group. The mayor of Phoenix has asked Trump to postpone the rally, and multiple groups, and organizers are planning protests.

First, let’s meet the sheriff who cracked down on illegal immigrants who now, himself, is in legal jeopardy.

Who is Joe Arpaio?

Arpaio had earned a reputation as "America’s toughest sheriff" but got into legal trouble in recent years. As the L.A. Times explained, “Arpaio was recently found guilty of contempt of court for defying a judge’s order to stop racial profiling of Latinos and turning detainees over to federal immigration officials during his tenure in office.” He is due to be sentenced on October 5th and faces up to six months in jail.

Even before his conviction, Arpaio was a controversial figure in a county known for its large number of immigrants, both legal and not. As Fox News explained, the sheriff’s "widely publicized tactics included forcing inmates to wear pink underwear and housing them in desert tent camps where temperatures often climbed well past 100 degrees Fahrenheit. He also controversially brought back chain gains, including a voluntary chain gang for women prisoners."

Trump, however, never found Arpaio’s tactics controversial.

In an interview with Fox News on August 13th, the President said, "I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio. He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him." The President then asked, “Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe? He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

Arpaio, when reached for comment, told Fox News, "I am happy he understands the case. I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty."

Pardons – of anyone, at any time in a president’s tenure – can cause political headaches. The current political atmosphere, however, makes this one especially migraine-inducing.

The Rally After The Rally

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is not happy about Trump’s rally, which the President announced a day after he blamed the violence in Charlottesville on "both sides."

"I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville," Stanton said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "It is my hope that more sound judgment prevails and that he delays his visit."

After the President’s comments comparing racist protestors with those who rallied against them, multiple people and agencies accused the President of being racist himself. Because Arpaio targeted undocumented and illegal immigrants – and was sentenced for it – critics have said pardoning him would amount to an endorsement of racism.

"If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation," Stanton said.

ACLU Deputy Legal Director, Cecillia Wang, was more blunt: "President Trump would be literally pardoning Joe Arpaio’s flagrant violation of federal court orders that prohibited the illegal detention of Latinos," she told the Washington Post. “He would undo a conviction secured by his own career attorneys at the Justice Department. Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”

What do you think? Is it too soon to pardon Arpaio? Or should he never be pardoned? Should the President postpone his Phoenix rally? Hit the Take Action button, and comment below.

(Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(386)
  • Niki
    08/21/2017
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    Absolutely not. The man broke the law and deserves his punishment. Pardoning him will just further divide the country and send another message that trump supports racists. But since division is what he wants, I would not be surprised to see him take another hateful action.

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  • John
    08/21/2017
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    Absolutely not. Trump has no concept of the ethical, moral responsibilities of a leadership role or even a citizen in a democracy. He has spent a lifetime gaining the system with reckless disregard to everybody and everything. It shows the complete lack of empathy required by capitalism for the biggest rewards. He emboldens those who wish to replace freedom with theocratic law by showing "man is not capable of greatness and will destroy himself when left to his own destiny"

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  • IllWill
    08/21/2017
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    No! Joe Arpaio is a criminal and a racist, and should serve his time in prison!

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  • Teri
    08/21/2017
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    Absolutely not! When will sanity return to the office of our Presidency?

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  • Andy1
    08/21/2017
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    Trump would have pardoned hitler so pardoning arpaio seems right up his ally

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  • L0u15e.N032L
    08/21/2017
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    No. It would not be inclusive. Why do we speak of civil war in some right leaning circles? Why is our America so bad that we would destroy our lands and homes; disrupt our lives? For what? No this Sheriff needs to account for breaking our laws. We need to hold everyone accountable.

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  • Linda
    08/21/2017
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    Yes the Sheriff was upholding the laws of The USA. If you don't agree with the laws work to get them changed. But an officers job is to enforce the law.

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  • OlderNWiser
    08/21/2017
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    1,000% no! A racist profiler whose self-hatred led him to pick on Latinos, to be pardoned for violating constitutional rights to fulfill a racist agenda? Sounds eerily like the man installed into the top US office come to think of it. Birds of a feather. We can and must protect each other from racist bigots--America is the land of the free--not the land of the profiled.

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  • operaman
    08/21/2017
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    Caught following the immigration law, not Obama's personal interpretation of the law or a judge who can't read and follow written law as passed by Congress. Sheriff "Joe" Arpaio had be serving Maricopa county for decades. In comes a new President and that well understood and practiced law becomes open to Liberal interpretation. Give the man applause and a Presidential Pardon. Guess Sheriff Joe has been around so long that he has become a statue to be torn down. I find it hard to destroy history that showed us that slavery can be corrected in the future. But then, it's the Socialist mode of operation. Those pulling down our statues will some day become the footstool of the social elites.

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  • Ruth
    08/21/2017
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    No he should not be pardoned. This behavior is part of racist behavior that still remains in this country. Targeting people because of skin color, beliefs, religion or anything else is wrong. As long as people like this sheriff wear a gun and carry a badge police brutality is a reality as is the unfair targeting of people .

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  • YorEl
    08/21/2017
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    The Orange will pardon him, but he should not be pardoned. Profiling is wrong. Our law enforcement have to do a better job in protecting the streets (and if people say it's lack of funds, it isn't. That, again, falls to the failure of the government not allocating properly and senselessly spending).

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  • Clint
    08/21/2017
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    Absolutely not! There's no excuse for one racist to pardon another!

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  • Suzi
    08/22/2017
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    Mr. trump should honor the wishes of the mayor of Phoenix and postpone his rally. The sheriff should not be pardoned but if he accepts a pardon he is admitting that he committed the crime.

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  • Pauline
    08/21/2017
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    NO!!!

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  • Karan
    08/21/2017
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    Yes!!! Pardon him!!

    Like (11)
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  • Donna
    08/21/2017
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    Yes .

    Like (9)
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  • Gary
    08/22/2017
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    Of course. He never should have been convicted in the first place, he has done more good for AZ then anyone in recent history.

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  • Loraki
    08/22/2017
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    Yes, President Trump should absolutely pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio! It's simply the right thing to do in this case. Sheriff Joe is an honorable, conscientious, and patriotic American who was doing his best to honor his oath, uphold and enforce the laws, and protect the citizens within his jurisdiction to the best of his ability. IMO, he has been treated most UNJUSTLY!

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  • Chris
    08/21/2017
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    Pardoning this man is an act of overt racism and xenophobia. Period.

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  • Freda
    08/22/2017
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    Yes he has been framed I think he should pardon him. Trying to send a good man to prison.

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