Arizona’s largest newspaper published a scathing rebuke of President Trump’s decision to pardon former Maricopa Counter Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Friday, calling it an “insult” to the state’s Latino community and saying “Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him – it is a goal.”
The Arizona Republic’s editorial board argued that the “vast majority of Latinos in Arizona are not undocumented, yet they all fell under heightened scrutiny as Arpaio honed his image.”
“The pardon was a slap to those who worked through the judicial system to make Arpaio accountable, too. It robbed the people hurt by his policies of justice – even before a judge could mete out a sentence,” they added.
“By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal,” the publication’s editorial board wrote.
“That should trouble every American who believes that our duty as a nation is to continue working on behalf of equal justice,” the board added.
Arpaio, known as “Sheriff Joe,” was found to have disobeyed a 2011 court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow that required the 85-year-old to stop racially profiling Latinos as part of signature immigration round-ups.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” Trump recently told Fox News.
“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.”
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s July ruling came after a five-day June and July trial, in which Department of Justice prosecutors argued that Arpaio had willfully ignored the order. Arpaio’s argued that the court order was unclear and that, although mistakes had been made, the violations were unintended.
“The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge (G. Murray) Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed,” Bolton wrote in the ruling. “Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”
“Mr. Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for continuing to illegally profile Latinos living in Arizona based on their perceived immigration status in violation of a judge’s orders,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in a statement Friday.
Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 26, 2017
“Regarding the Arpaio pardon, I would have preferred that the President honor the judicial process and let it take its course,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) wrote in a tweet.
“Pardoning Joe Arpaio is a slap in the face to the people of Maricopa County, especially the Latino community and those he victimized as he systematically and illegally violated their civil rights,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) said in a statement.