‘Arizona Republic’ Slams Arpaio Pardon: Trump Made It Clear Racism ‘Is A Goal’

Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio Joe Arpaio 'Tent City' at Maricopa County Jail, Maricopa County, Arizona, America - Feb 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/q4jw Tent City is regularly named as one of the wo... Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio Joe Arpaio 'Tent City' at Maricopa County Jail, Maricopa County, Arizona, America - Feb 2015 *Full story: http://www.rexfeatures.com/nanolink/q4jw Tent City is regularly named as one of the worst prisons in America. The notorious convict camp is located in the Arizona desert where temperatures regularly top 130 degrees and more. As its name suggests inmates live outside in Army surplus tents that are unheated in the winter and uncooled in the summer. The only permanent buildings house showers and a canteen where meals are served. Tent City is the brainchild of Joe Arpaio, the six-time elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio styles himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff" and the controversial figure has been accused of a list of crimes, including abuse of power, misuse of funds and failure to investigate sex crimes. His jails have twice been ruled unconstitutional. He set up Tent City, which is an extension of the Maricopa County Jail, in 1993. He has since described Tent City, which can accommodate up to 2,126 inmates, as a 'concentration camp'. (Rex Features via AP Images) MORE LESS
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Arizona’s largest newspaper on Friday slammed Donald Trump for using his first presidential pardon to absolve former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of a criminal contempt of court conviction.

Arpaio was found guilty in July of violating a court order to cease racially profiling Latinos for detention based on suspicions about immigration status.

Trump relieved a valuable political ally of the criminal charge: Arpaio endorsed him for President way back in January 2016, and Trump has said Arpaio’s harsh detention tactics — including housing hundreds of inmates in the intense Arizona sun and relying heavily on solitary confinement — were models for the nation.

The editorial board of the Arizona Republic, the paper that most closely followed Arpaio’s 24-year career as sheriff, eviscerated the decision.

This erases any doubt about whether Trump meant to empower them after the violence in Charlottesville,” the board’s editorial read, referring to “immigration hardliners and nationalists in Trump’s base.”

“Arpaio is their darling,” it continued. “Arpaio is now back on his pedestal thanks to their president.”

“Donald Trump’s pardon elevates Arpaio once again to the pantheon of those who see institutional racism as something that made America great,” the editorial board added. “Many will characterize it as a slap to the Latino community – and it is. The vast majority of Latinos in Arizona are not undocumented, yet they all fell under heightened scrutiny as Arpaio honed his image.”

Arpaio was known for his extreme treatment of undocumented immigrants. Aside from his pattern of racially profiling motorists who he and his deputies suspected were undocumented, he once segregated undocumented immigrants in his outdoor “Tent City” detention center, surrounding them with electrified fence.

“This is a population of criminals more adept perhaps at escape,” he told reporters at the time, according to the Associated Press. “But this is a fence they won’t want to scale because they risk receiving quite a shock, literally.”

“Arpaio was a lawman who scorned his duty to treat all people equally,” the Arizona Republic wrote Friday. “He made it law enforcement policy to profile people based on their heritage.”

The editorial concluded: “By pardoning Arpaio, Trump made it clear that institutional racism is not just OK with him. It is a goal. That should trouble every American who believes that our duty as a nation is to continue working on behalf of equal justice.”

Read the full Arizona Republic editorial here.

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