The Arpaio pardon
Just being Latino is not probable cause to be detained by law enforcement. Racial profiling by police officers is illegal and as wrong as sin itself. While he was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Arpaio operated on a premise that most Latinos were likely illegal immigrants. He ordered his deputies to stop them and make them provide proof that they were legal. He was ordered by the court to cease and desist, but he continued terrorizing Latinos, violating a court order.
He was convicted of contempt of court.
President Trump pardoned Arpaio while at Camp David on Aug. 27. President Trump said he was pardoning Arpaio because “he was just doing his job.” He wasn’t just doing his job. He was violating our Constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure. I don’t mind the pardon; the man is over 80, and nothing is gained by incarcerating him. I do mind, and condemn the president, in the harshest terms, for exonerating Arpaio’s illegal behavior. Once again, the president has demonstrated his lack of knowledge of, and disdain for the Constitution. He should have said; “Arpaio broke the law, but because of his age I am pardoning him.”
The most outrageous statement by Trump was that Arpaio had not done anything others haven’t done. Say what? Committing a crime is OK as long as others have done it in the past! That’s exactly what the president said. No wonder he thought he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Ave and get away with it. After all, murders have been committed by others before, right?
For many years the Constitutional rights of minorities, including Latinos, have been violated by some members of the law enforcement community. There is a major battle being waged by many groups against this discriminatory practice. But the president suggested that police officers should ‘rough-up’ detainees, thereby condoning unconstitutional acts by law enforcement.
The president said his pardoning of Arpaio wasn’t nearly as controversial as pardons by Democratic presidents. He specifically mentioned President Clinton’s pardon of Chelsea Manning, who was serving time for leaking confidential information to the press. President Trump failed to mention that unlike Arpaio, Manning had already spent seven years in prison when pardoned.
It is more than just speculation that by pardoning Arpaio, Trump was sending a message to anyone who may be tempted to cooperate with the special prosecutor and furnish evidence for a reduced sentence or none at all. The message was; don’t cooperate, you need not worry about contempt charges or any charges, because I’ll pardon you. Do you think for one second that Trump will not pardon any family member or ally in the Russian controversy? Think again. He may even pardon himself.
It appears special prosecutor Mueller is seeking the cooperation of former chairman of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, who could possibly bring down members of the Trump family. He is working with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York. Manafort may sing if threatened with New York State charges. There is no presidential pardon of state felons. Mueller seems to have seen right through the president’s reason for pardoning Arpaio, before he was even sentenced.
By accepting the pardon Arpaio has admitted his guilt. By pardoning Arpaio the president has acknowledged Arpaio’s guilt. This is based on a long standing legal opinion. As it is said, actions speak louder than words. Once again the president has contradicted himself. He can’t contend that Arpaio did nothing wrong and pardon him at the same time.
When he mentioned Arpaio “ would be okay” at his rally in Phoenix, he got a rousing reply causing him to say the people of Maricopa County support Arpaio. He’s wrong. They don’t support Arpaio. He was defeated by 13 points the last time he ran for Sheriff by Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police sergeant
Penzone charged that Arpaio was using his office and financial resources in support of a political agenda, while ignoring the safety and welfare of the residents of Maricopa County. He contended that about 400 cases of crimes against children weren’t investigated while Arpaio spent taxpayer’s money to send deputies to Hawaii to investigate Obama‘s birth. What an outrage, if true.
Trump said the announcement of the pardon was timed to take advantage of the high TV ratings as a result of hurricane Harvey. Forget the suffering people, it’s the ratings that matter.
Now the president has cruelly, and unnecessarily, ended DACA, which put 800,000 Latinos in limbo and turned their dreams into nightmares. Why not pardon them, Mr. President?
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at email@example.com.