Donald Trump has extended a Presidential pardon to former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was previously convicted of contempt of court for repeated racial profiling of latinx people even after a court order requiring him to stop. Trump has seen strong opposition to his decision; from other politicians, private citizens, organizations and publications alike. Perhaps one of the strongest voices against Arpaio and Trump's pardoning of the former sherriff comes from Phoenix-based newspaper, Phoenix New Times. The newspaper has spent literally decades tracking and reporting on Arpaio.
They launched a tweetstorm detailing some of what they know.
He, himself, described his jail as a "concentration camp."
Prisoners died at his "concentration camp" at a rate much higher than average - often by allegedly hanging themselves.
When a disabled prisoner asked for a catheter, he was beaten so severely his neck was almost broken. This man was only in custody for a few hours.
He created a tent city for "illegals" behind an electrified fence. Note the word "unsentenced" on the prisoners uniforms. Most prisoners in Arpaio's jails were simply there awaiting trial and had not been convicted of anything.
Arpaio's staff's neglect caused the deaths of multiple infants when their pregnant mothers were denied proper care while in custody.
If you were arrested, your mugshot went up onto a public website where people could vote for the one they found funniest. It didn't matter if you'd done anything wrong, if there was a mix up, if your arrest was for a forgotten parking ticket or for a triple homicide. The mocking was open to the public for all.
He attempted to suppress media reports on his activities by arresting reporters. That ended up costing him almost $4 million.
Sexual abuse cases, many of which involved children, went without investigation.
He claimed they went without investigation because he was under-staffed; but he had enough staff and funding (remember this is taxpayer money) to send a team to Hawaii to try and prove that Barack Obama's birth certificate was fake. Donald Trump congratulated him for this.
He staged an assassination attempt against himself that ended up costing taxpayers over a million dollars.
Flaming puppies were a thing under Arpaio.
A member of his "Sheriff's Posse" (not kidding) was arrested on child pornography charges.
At this point in the tweetstorm, other people began sharing stories that the newspaper had not yet mentioned. Like the time he had a camera set up that broadcast images of female inmates using the toilet across the internet.
Is it really necessary to go that far to collect "evidence"?
In 2013 a judge found that he was guilty of racially profiling Latino's.
He didn't like that, so he had the judge and the judge's wife investigated.
He ignored the court and kept right on profiling, which is why he was found guilty of contempt of court. Arpaio also attempted to destroy evidence.
That's not a low number.
Donald Trump tweeted this out after the pardon:
It can be easy to turn a blind eye to stories about prisoner abuse. Lots of people mentally brush the stories off because the people involved are "criminals" and "deserving of punishment." It's important to keep in mind, however, that 70% of the inmates held in these jails and subjected to these abuses had not even gone to trial, had been convicted of nothing, and were only there because they could not afford bail. After this tweetstorm and a multitude of stories about inmate abuse, many people are asking if maybe the thing Arizona needed to be kept safe from was Sheriff Joe himself.