Things That Matter

He Was Convicted Of Racial Profiling But Now America’s ‘Toughest Sheriff’ Is Running For His Old Job

Self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio, is trying to make his comeback two years after he was pardoned by President Trump for illegal racial profiling of Latinos. 

Former Maricopa County Sheriff, failed U.S. Senate candidate, and habitual abuser of power Joe Arpaio announced he will run to regain his old office in 2020.

Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio on Sunday announced he would seek another term as sheriff of Maricopa County, two years after President Donald Trump pardoned him. He had been convicted on charges of criminal contempt related to the hard-line tactics he used to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

“After consultation and approval from my wife of 61 years, Ava, I have decided to run to be reelected sheriff,” Arpaio said in a news release Sunday. “Watch out world! We are back!”

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio and his posse of deputies became famous for illegal and racist policies targeting Latinos.

Arpaio was notorious for using large-scale sweeps of Latino neighborhoods and traffic stops of Latino drivers to round up illegal immigrants. The sweeps drained resources from his department and were abhorred by civil liberties advocates and immigration groups, but they brought the publicity-seeking sheriff to national attention.

In a statement accompanying his tweet, Arpaio said he would reopen his tent city jail and resume immigration enforcement.

“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” Arpaio said in the statement. “Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”

Arpaio was first elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, in 1993 and held the office until he was defeated in 2016. He styled himself as “the toughest sheriff in America” and became known for his “tent city” jail, where inmates wearing old-timey striped uniforms were held in tents in the brutal desert heat.

In a tweet, Arpaio said he already had the backing of “thousands.”

“Thousands want me to run for Sheriff,” Arpaio, 87, announced in a tweet Sunday. “Ready for bruising, bitter campaign. Never back down.”

Following several lawsuits, Arpaio was convicted of unlawful policing techniques and faced six months in prison.

In 2011, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division released a report finding that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office “engages in racial profiling of Latinos; unlawfully stops, detains, and arrests Latinos; and unlawfully retaliates against individuals who complain about or criticize MCSO’s policies or practices.” 

For the next five years, Arpaio continued to flout orders by federal judges to improve the conditions inside his jails and cease the unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos, leading to him being found guilty of both civil and criminal contempt of court in 2017.

Arpaio was also a vocal Trump supporter, and a month after his conviction, Trump returned the favor and pardoned Arpaio.

In fact, Joe Arpaio was one of the first politicians to step forward to support the campaign of then-candidate Trump. Arpaio is also a committed birther.

His “Cold Case Posse,” conducted in partnership with the far-right website WorldNetDaily, spent much of the Obama administration “investigating” the authenticity of the president’s birth certificate.

Reactions on Twitter have been overwhelmingly negative.

Even people in his home state don’t want anything to do with Arpaio. 

Many in his home state are still upset because they’re on the hook as taxpayers paying for his illegal activities.

In 2014, a report noted in Reason that Arpaio’s office “has also been guilty of a litany of shenanigans, including stealing documents from a defense attorney, arresting critical journalists, spying on political opponents—and maintaining such lousy jail conditions that they violate inmates’ rights.”

In 2016, after years of scandals and millions upon millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements, voters replaced Arpaio with a Democrat candidate. Let’s hope they make the right decision in 2020. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com