President Trump Pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

US President Donald Trump Pardoned Infamous Arizona Maricopa County Sherriff, Joe Arpaio.

Ben Smith, Cactus Writer

On August 25, 2017, President Donald Trump held a press release where he announced that he would be pardoning Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio was charged with criminal contempt after failing to comply with Federal court orders to cease racial profiling of Maricopa citizens.

The federal court order claimed Sheriff Arpaio was targeting Hispanic citizens for traffic stops on suspicion of being undocumented, leading to accusations of racial profiling. He was court ordered to cease this practice in 2011. Arpaio was later accused of continuing it, leading to him being charged with contempt of court on July 31.

Sheriff Arpaio has been a nationally controversial figure since he was first elected Maricopa County Sherriff in 1993. Throughout his tenure, he has been accused of intense racial profiling of Hispanic citizens and undocumented persons, as well as unfair treatment of prisoners in Maricopa jails. A powerful proponent of hardline immigration policies, he has long had general support from conservative anti-immigration groups, while facing harsh criticism from immigrant rights groups.

Though the Presidential Pardon is designated as a power of the President under Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, there have been concerns raised by Democratic groups over this specific instance of it. Due to Sheriff Arpaio’s support for President Trump’s campaign and for his original Birther movement during President Obama’s administration, concerns have been raised over the decision’s ethical standards. The President’s supporters, however, argue that politically-motivated pardons have been an important power of the President since President Washington’s administration.