Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio ran an Arizona jail that he described as a “concentration camp.” Prisoners there died at an alarming rate, often with no explanation.
One of his jailers nearly broke the neck of a paraplegic guy who had the nerve to ask for a catheter. A federal investigation found that Arpaio’s deputies used stun guns on prisoners already strapped into a “restraint chair.”
In 2013, a federal judge confirmed what literally everyone in the Phoenix area knew: Arpaio was racially profiling Latinos whom his deputies referred to as “wetbacks,” “stupid Mexicans” and “Mexican bitches.”
By 2015, his fondness for racial profiling had cost Maricopa County more than $44 million in lawsuits. Arpaio’s office also failed to investigate over 400 sex-crime cases and misspent $99.5 million in restricted jail funds over the last eight years.
That is a highly abridged account of Sheriff Arpaio’s transgressions. But it gives a sense of the man that President Donald Trump pardoned, a man every bit as cruel, immoral, and flagrant in his disrespect for the rule of law and basic standards of decency as Trump himself.
Martin H. Levinson