Who Is Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Who is former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

  • On Friday night President Donald Trump gave Arpaio a Presidential Pardon

  • Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt after ignoring a court order in a racial profiling case

  • The infamous “Tent City” prison was Arpaio’s creation

  • 85-year-old Arpaio sentencing was scheduled for October 5

Thousands of people protested outside the Phoenix Convention Center after hearing that President Donald Trump would be giving former Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio a Presidential Pardon during his campaign style rally last Tuesday.

Trump was asked not to do the pardon during the rally due to concerns over how protesters outside would respond. While the pardon was not announced, Trump couldn’t help but drop strong hints that Arpaio would receive a pardon, stating, “But you know what? I’m going to make a prediction; I think he is going to be just fine.”

As is the norm for Trump, just days later he confirmed his hints when he quietly pardoned Arpaio late Friday night as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas.

Arpaio’s Pardon Was Ready To Go

On Wednesday, it was reported that the White House had Arpaio’s paperwork for the pardon ready to go, along with talking points to respond to backlash that may occur in response to the pardon. 85-year-old Arpaio was found guilty last month of criminal contempt due to his harsh tactics against immigrants.

Arpaio is the first pardon the Trump administration has issued. Unlike Trump’s predecessor, it was reported the President did not consult with lawyers from the Justice Department before issuing the pardon. However, under the Constitution Trump is not required to consult with the administration when issuing a pardon.

October 5, 2017

Before Trump’s pardon, Arpaio’s sentencing date of October 5 was growing closer and he was facing jail time. Arpaio ignored a federal court order in a racial-profiling case. In 2011, a court order demanded Arpaio cease from detaining people based only on suspicion of immigration status with no evidence that another crime had been committed.

On July 31, Arpaio was found guilty. Judge Susan Bolton wrote an order that read, “Not only did (Arpaio) abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.”

The White House released a statement on Friday evening regarding Arpaio’s pardon.

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 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our nation, he is (a) worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.

Tent City

Arpaio was known around the country for his controversial prison appropriately called “Tent City.” Arpaio was elected as Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992. In his first year as Sheriff, Arpaio constructed Tent City, which he claimed was an inexpensive answer to overpopulation in the prisons.

For 24-years, Tent City served as a testament of Arpaio’s “tough on crime” image. In 2016, Arpaio refused even to consider closing Tent City, which halted detention officer raises.

While Arpaio claimed that Tent City was inexpensive, he could not have been more wrong. Tent City was expected to cost $8.6 million over the current fiscal year, with only around 800 of the 2,176 beds being used.

Roughly 400 of those beds were filled by long-term inmates, while the other half was on work furlough, meaning they were allowed to leave the prison 12-hours a day for work.

Inmates were exposed to the brutal temperatures of the Arizona desert and made to wear pink underwear. Tent City was not a deterrent from crime; it was a consistent story for the media and a burden on tax payers. Arpaio had even referred to the camp as a “concentration camp.”

Sheriff Paul Penzone ended Arpaio’s 24-year reign of terror when he won the last election. One of Penzone’s first actions as sheriff was to close down the infamous Tent City. Arpaio gave a mixed response to Penzone’s decision stating, “That’s his call, OK? Not mine. I’m not going to second-guess him. If I was still the sheriff, those tents would never be gone.”

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About Meko Haze

Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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