The good, the bad and the pardon

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 1:31 PM

Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was recently pardoned by United States President Donald Trump in charges of criminal contempt of court. Arpaio has committed more crimes that he should answer for, and now, it’s likely he never will.

Among his list of crimes, he was also court ordered to cease arresting people based only on their immigration status, which he ignored.

He would have spent six months in jail, but now has been pardoned and is free.

Arpaio and his department have either failed to investigate over 400 sex crimes or have done shady investigations into the matters, according to The New York Times. Many of these cases involved child molestation as young as 2 years old; people have pleaded to get the department to investigate these matter with no success.

Anyone who wouldn’t investigate a sexual assault charge should never be in law enforcement, let alone be sheriff of a department for over two decades.

Perhaps his most infamous legacy is “Tent City,” a concentration style camp where up to 2,000 inmates can be held with only tents to shelter them. Inmates are forced to sit in the blistering heat.

In summer, the heat in Phoenix, Arizona can reach a high of 145 degrees and, with only tents to cool them off, many inmates suffer. He also makes inmates wear pink underwear and old fashion striped jump suits, according to NPR.

Tent City was said to be shutting down earlier this year; how this “concentration camp” stayed open for over two decades without being closed down under the eighth amendment of the Constitution (for cruel and unusual punishment) is shocking.

Inmates in “Tent City” were fed less than the dogs, according to Arpaio himself; he put his inmates, including women, on chain gangs, while inmates also died at alarming rates with no reason ever given, according to

He has also arrested reporters who tried to cover him, and according to Phoenix New Times, in 2004 Arpaio’s men pushed a dog back into a burning house it was trying to escape from and the dog burned to death in the blazing home.

The Washington Post stated: “He installed publicly accessible webcams so that the public could gawk at inmates, and one of those cameras showed female prisoners using the toilet.” The cameras were eventually taken down.

The fact that the courts seemed to turn a blind eye to this horrifying behavior for over 20 years is appalling. When someone who is supposed to uphold the law starts deciding which laws they want to enforce and which they don’t, it only defeats the purpose of law enforcement; and it also shows other officers that upholding the constitution is not a priority, when it absolutely is.

Pardoning Joe Arpaio sends a message that if you commit a crime in the United States, it doesn’t matter, and as long as you support our president you’ll be forgiven and allowed to continue living as a free citizen.

Pardoning Arpaio also undermines the courts and their rulings on matters of justice. Using a presidential pardon on a man who clearly committed many terrible injustices is a gross misuse of power.

Steven Tagliente can be reached at 

Tags: voices, opinion

View Our YouTube Channel
Edinboro TV
Find Us on Instagram