The worst storm to hit the mainland in 12 years was not on the radar of Trump’s political calculations. The hurricane could wait. The pressing matter was to pardon a man who had violated the Constitution, discriminated against Latinos and had been convicted of criminal contempt of court.
A 2007 lawsuit accused the sheriff’s office of stopping and detaining people because of the way they looked. Three years later, the Justice Department sued Maricopa County, claiming that Arpaio’s agents “engaged in a widespread pattern or practice of law enforcement and jail activities that discriminated against Latinos.”
In 2011, a judge ordered Arpaio to stop his racial profiling practices in Maricopa County, Arizona, but he simply defied the order. He was going to be sentenced in October and faced up to six months in jail. Now he doesn’t have to worry about it. Trump saved him.
Trump chose to protect a man who openly discriminated against Latinos and destroyed many families since he was elected Sheriff of Maricopa County in 1993. Trump chose to pardon an elected official who humiliated detainees by forcing them to wear pink uniforms and to live in an open-air jail — the so called Tent City — where temperatures sometimes reached over 110 degrees.
Once I visited Tent City in 2013, and Arpaio was unrepentant. He liked to say that he was just doing his job and that Latinos loved him. No, they don’t, I immediately replied. But he wasn’t listening. At the end…
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