Trump has a way of courting controversy, and it was no surprise when his first presidential pardon was given to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The president had for long shown his support for the sheriff, and it had been expected by many that he would pardon him.
The two share the same chain of thought when it comes to immigration, as one was advocating for a wall to be built between the United States and Mexico the other was racially profiling Mexicans during his reign as sheriff. The sheriff had corrupted the idea of being tough on immigration and come up with his own ideologies on what it entailed; this was one of the main reasons why there was a unanimous sigh of relief when voters from Maricopa rejected him for a seventh term.
Having become sheriff of the county in 1992, the sheriff had become too comfortable and had begun embracing the idea that he was invincible.
He had dedicated a large part of his sheriff’s department towards immigration, and this is what saw the department begin a systematic racial profiling culture. His deputies would oversee various raids on business that were thought to harbour or employ illegal immigrants without warrants or probable cause. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://angel.co/michael-lacey-3 and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
This was at times used to settle personal scores or intimidate political rivals. The sheriff was sitting on a 140 million dollar operation that had become the Maricopa sheriff’s department, and for a man who was quite comfortable diverting funds illegally, this was a job he was willing to do all it took to protect.
Those who would bear the most damage for his actions were inmates who were unlucky enough to be arrested and taken to the jails operated by the sheriff’s department. The department opened Tent cities in 1993, being used for a long time as the alternative to actual jails.
The conditions in this tent cities were so hostile that temperatures were known to reach 130 degrees during summer.Due to chronic understaffing the said jails would witness up to 1500 inmates being overseen by four officers at a time. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
This would at times have disastrous consequences as was observed in a case that Lacey and Larkin investigated where a veteran was killed during a jail riot that left many more injured. The sheriff in his usual style would not own up or apologise for the incidence but instead justify that all those who were involved deserved what they got calling them bottom feeders of society.
This attitude is what he used to justify inmate suicides and mysterious deaths whenever they were reported in the sheriff’s jails. The reports by Lacey and Larkin would, however, prove to be useful as the public slowly started noticing his actions and demanding action.
The two would prove to be a hard nut to crack for the sheriff who was used to threats and intimidation.
It is thus no surprise that they are some of the most prominent critics of the president’s actions towards a man who had overseen so many atrocities in a country that prides itself as being anchored on the rule of law.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and http://james-larkin.com/