Last night, all eyes were on the Weather Channel as we watched Hurricane Harvey slowly spin its way through the Gulf of Mexico with the south shores of Texas clearly in its sights. We closed our eyes and silently said a prayer for those who were being affected.
Meanwhile, back in D.C., our President had more pressing priorities – like pardoning the former Sheriff of Maricopa County (Arizona) who had violated a court order to stop employing racial profiling tactics within his department and, in so doing, he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court. This is an 85-year-old man who had no boundaries, no respect for the oath he took to uphold the laws, and one that appeared to enjoy doling out suffering and humiliation wherever and whenever he could. You know, the proverbial bully in the school yard. Let me tell you a little more about him.
Let’s take a look at these on-point examples evidencing behavior by his staff that went unheeded and clearly, unpunished.
On one occasion, one of his officers stopped a five-month pregnant Latina woman as she pulled into her home driveway. When she got out of the car, the officer asked her to sit on the hood. When she refused, he pulled her arms behind her and slammed her (stomach first) into the side of the vehicle three times, then left her in the back of a patrol car for 30 minutes with no air conditioning. He cited her for not having identification; a charge that was later changed to failure to provide proof of insurance – which she later provided in court.
On another occasion, during one of the Sheriff’s well-known early-morning raids in an effort to round up undocumented immigrants, Sheriff’s deputies burst into an adjacent home (not the target) which was occupied by a Latino family, and searched the premises without a warrant. They zip-tied a father and 12-year-old son (both U.S. citizens) and made them sit curbside with other illegal immigrants for more than an hour – in spite of having committed no crime and having no connection to the targeted house.
Both of these examples came directly from the Justice Department’s civil rights complaint – paragraphs 62 and 67, respectively.
This is a Sheriff who looked the other way when a young man who had been taken into custody was strapped down in a chair, restrained at the wrists, and had a towel placed over his mouth for an undetermined amount of time – until he died of “positional asphyxiation.” Imagine that family’s pain.
This is also the Sheriff who failed to investigate over 400 sex crimes (the majority of which involved children) due to his directive to prioritize low-level immigration offenses over the more serious sex crimes, resulting in unspeakable pain to innocent children while he simultaneously failed to meet his law enforcement responsibilities – to say the least.
And then, upon hearing of the questionable status of President Obama’s birth certificate, this is the man who, unsolicited, took it upon himself to personally investigate the matter. His investigation turned up nothing – except a $10,000 expenditure for a Hawaiian trip for one of his deputies for which the taxpayers were handed the tab. It has been estimated that former-Sheriff Arpaio’s actions have cost Maricopa County taxpayers more than $200 million dollars and that figure continues to be adjusted upwards as claims continue to be filed.
This is also the man who sat before Judge Snow in his original trial, sworn under oath, who was finally forced to admit that he had hired a private investigator to investigate the Judge’s wife with regard to an alleged comment she made by an undisclosed source. We all recognized that for what it was – dirt-digging – with the hope of using the results to derail the legal proceedings.
“A fine patriot!” is what Trump calls him. A “good man.” Someone who had performed an “admirable job at law enforcement at the federal and local levels.”
Mr. President, either read the whole article or get another advisor. This man swore to uphold the laws, not break them or bend them to fit his will.
This pardon was at the least, undeserved and at the most, amoral, unethical, shameful, appalling, unconscionable, and an affront to the entire American judicial system.
GOP: Listen up. Trump is going to bury you. By sitting back and taking no action and allowing this Presidency to play itself out does nothing except make you look weak, ineffective, spineless and cowardly.
Be advised that we will continue to speak to the injustices your myopic viewpoints have enabled.
And we will speak out loudly.
With One Voice.