Arpaio pardon stirs controversy

Immigrant Allies, others share thoughts on former Arizona sheriff

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. President Donald Trump has pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio following his conviction for intentionally disobeying a judge's order in an immigration case. The White House announced the move Friday night, Aug. 25, 2017, saying the 85-year-old ex-sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County was a "worthy candidate" for a presidential pardon. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Almost a month after former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt by a U.S. district judge, President Donald Trump late Friday used the office’s pardon power on the case; that move was unpopular with some in Marshalltown.

“It has been very upsetting news for us,” said Marshalltown resident Maria González. “He (Arpaio) was racially profiling American citizens of Latino heritage, there is no excuse for his pardon, this is being racist.”

Arpaio, who joined then-candidate Trump for a rally at the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse in January of 2016, was found by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to have violated a previous order from a federal judge in 2011, per National Public Radio news.

The 2011 injunction was issued by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow, and called for Arpaio and his department to stop the practice of targeting and racially profiling Latino motorists.

“I honestly cannot imagine what it feels like to be Latino in our country right now, realizing that our president just validated [Arpaio’s] actions,” said Joa LaVille of Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown on the pardon. “You would feel spit upon by your own president.”

Another Marshalltown resident, Jocelyn Hernández of Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support, said she was “deeply infuriated” by the pardon.

“I’m actually not surprised this happened,” she said. “They both have similar thoughts and ideas on how this country should ‘deal’ with immigration and undocumented people.”

LaVille said Arpaio’s targeting of Latino drivers was a racist policy.

“I know people like to say ‘This isn’t about race,'” she said. “This is absolutely about race, he was targeting anyone that was brown or who looked Latino and then letting the details come out later.”

Hernández said she thinks the pardon “encourages and promotes Arpaio’s behavior as acceptable.”

The presidental pardon power is outlined in Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump said he was “pleased” to pardon the former sheriff in a tweet sent out on Friday. The president called Arpaio an “American patriot” and added “He kept Arizona safe!”


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