This is what you need to know about former Sheriff Joe Arpaio
"America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio, convicted of willfully disobeying a federal order to stop racial profiling, could get a presidential pardon. So, who is this guy?
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio willfully disobeyed the law when he was ordered to stop racially profiling drivers and holding them without charges, a court found. “America’s Toughest Sheriff” became a controversial figure for his crackdown on illegal immigration in Arizona.
Arpaio, 85, lost when he ran for a seventh term in 2016 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5 for criminal contempt after defying federal orders to stop racial profiling. Civil rights groups are waiting to see if President Donald Trump will pardon Arpaio and reportedly the pardon papers have been drawn up and are ready for the president’s signature.
I'm told the White House has prepared the paperwork for Trump to pardon former sheriff Joe Arpaio when he makes the final decision.— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 23, 2017
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"Do the people in this room like Sheriff Joe?" Trump asked a crowd at a Phoenix rally Tuesday night. The audience applauded.
"So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked. “I'll make a prediction: I think he's going to be just fine."
Who is Joe Arpaio?
The investigation into Arpaio began in 2008 under former President George W. Bush and continued under former President Barack Obama.
The Justice Department concluded in 2011 that the sheriff and his office engaged in systematic racial profiling of Latinos. The Department of Homeland Security, that once helped Arpaio in the early 2000s to arrest undocumented immigrants, removed the authority to enforce immigration for Arpaio’s office.
A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers racially profiled Latinos and his agency was ordered to stop. Arpaio defied the order and was charged and convicted of criminal contempt in July.
The Trump administration could choose to highlight Arpaio’s 50 years of service between the military and his role as Maricopa County sheriff, CNN reported. The White House would argue that the man convicted of pulling over Latinos and detaining them based on the belief that they were illegal —not that they committed a crime —should not be sentenced for "enforcing the law" and "working to keep people safe."
The White House has also prepared talking points for when it happens, including one about how Arpaio has served his country for 50 years. https://t.co/MtqdMD98eT— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) August 23, 2017
Arpaio, an avid Trump supporter, was a vocal member of the “birther” movement which theorized that that No. 44 was not born in the United States.
In 2012, Arpaio and his “cold case posse” began an investigation into Obama’s birth certificate. The case was open until Arpaio was voted out of office, The Washington Post reported.
For 24 years, Arpaio served as Maricopa County’s sheriff and became infamous for his untraditional policies. He made inmates wear pink underwear and live in outdoor “tent cities” despite the blistering heat. Trump praised Arpaio’s methods, which also included the reduction of meal costs to 20 cents per day and chain gangs for female inmates.
Arpaio, at various times, has been accused of misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, abuse of power and election law violations.
His bio has been removed from the sheriff’s site.
Arpaio was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on June 14, 1932 to parents from Italy. His mother died during childbirth.
Arpaio worked in his father’s business until he was 18, old enough to enlist in the U.S. Army. He served from 1950 to 1954 in the Medical Department and was stationed in France for part of the time as a military policeman, according to reports.
After his discharge from the Army, Arpaio became a police officer in Washington D.C., later moving his career to Las Vegas for six months. He was then appointed a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The federal bureau became part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and during his 25 years with the DEA, he was stationed in Argentina, Turkey and Mexico.
Arpaio then worked for his wife’s travel agency Starworld Travel Agency, based out of Scottsdale, Arizona. He claimed to have sold 19 flights on the Phoenix E space rocket, but according to reports, no flights were made.