President Donald Trump of U.S has pardoned controversial 85-year-old former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a misdemeanor criminal contempt conviction.
A statement issued by the White House Friday night said, “Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.”
Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Arpaio gained a reputation for his harsh — his critics would say cruel — treatment of immigrants in the country illegally.
Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt earlier this summer for defying a judge’s order that his deputies stop detaining immigrants because they lacked legal status.
His deputies carried on the practice for 18 months.
Trump hinted at the pardon last week and again at a Phoenix rally Tuesday night.
Last week, he told Fox News he was “seriously considering” a pardon and that Arpaio is a “a great American patriot” who has done “a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.” Tuesday night, he asked the crowd of supporters: “Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?”
“You know what, I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine,” he said. “OK? But I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”
“Arpaio’s life and career, which began at the age of 18 when he enlisted in the military after the outbreak of the Korean War, exemplify selfless public service.
After serving in the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas, NV and later served as a Special Agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), formerly the Bureau of Narcotics. After 25 years of admirable service, Arpaio went on to lead the DEA’s branch in Arizona.
“In 1992, the problems facing his community pulled Arpaio out of retirement to return to law enforcement. He ran and won a campaign to become Sheriff of Maricopa County.
Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now eighty-five years old, and after more than fifty years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon.”
Read more: NPR