Trump pardons Arizonaa's 'Chain Gang Joe'

DONALD Trump's decision to grant a Presidential pardon to America's most controversial sheriff has sparked a storm of criticism.

Mr Trump pardoned 85-year-old ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona's Maricopa County with the White House calling him a "worthy candidate".

However the move, which came as Texas was being smashed by its worst hurricane in 13 years, sparked criticism from civil rights groups and from fellow politicians within his own party.

Mr Trump's controversial move comes days after the president hinted he wanted to pardon the man he called a patriot.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday earlier this month, Mr Trump called Arpaio a great "American patriot who has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration."

He hinted he was considering a pardon for Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a court order in a case involving racial profiling.

Last Tuesday, the President again signalled his willingness to pardon him but told a downtown rally of supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, he wasn't going to do it then.

Tough talking Sheriff Joe Arpaio forced inmates to wear pink underwear.Source:Supplied
Tough talking Sheriff Joe Arpaio forced inmates to wear pink underwear.Source:Supplied


Arpaio made headlines for making prisoners wear pink underwear as a way of shaming them and also for reinstating chain gangs in the 1990s.

The former Maricopa County sheriff also cut down prison meals to two a day and even banned the use of salt and pepper as a way of saving money, CNN reported.

In 1993, Arpaio introduced the controversial Tent City jail complex idea as a way of stopping overcrowding in jails.

Arpaio locked up journalists and made criminal cases against political adversaries who tangled with him, investigated judges and misspent $100 million in jail funds.

He let investigations into child rape cases languish because officers were pulled away, in part, to help in Arpaio's immigrant efforts.

Arpaio was found to have violated the civil rights of Latinos in a racial-profiling case expected to cost taxpayers $92 million.

A judge nominated to the bench by former President George W. Bush ordered Arpaio to stop his immigration patrols in 2011 amid allegations that his officers were racially profiling Latinos.

The judge later found Arpaio's office systematically profiled Latinos and recommended a criminal charge against the sheriff for prolonging the patrols 17 months after he had ordered them stopped.


A president has the power to pardon anyone for any federal crime.

However in a stinging editorial, New York Magazine called the President's decision his "gravest abuse of power yet" and said "the wheels of justice ground to a halt simply because the nation's chief executive said so."

The New York Times said the decision put Mr Trump in "uncharted waters and the move could signal others who committed the same offences could not be punished.

The New Yorker said the pardon "dangerously accelerates Trump's assault on the rule of law", while Slate called the pardon an "impeachable offence" and argued the President misused his power to pardon.

The Phoenix New Times was brutally as critical, listing dozens of stories covering the offences and stunts he has committed.

This included marching Latino prisoners into a segregated area with electric fencing and running a mugshot of the day competition on the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office website.

News Corp Australia

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