U.S. President Donald Trump has granted a pardon to former Arizona lawman and political ally Joe Arpaio, less than a month after he was convicted of criminal contempt. Grace Lee reports.
A controversial presidential pardon for the self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America". "I have fought on the front lines to prevent illegal immigration." U.S. president Donald Trump granting a pardon to Joe Arpaio on Friday evening, less than a month after the former Arizona lawman was convicted of criminal contempt by a federal court, in a case involving his department's racial profiling policy. A White House statement says: "Throughout his time as Sheriff, Arpaio continued his life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration," and that after more than 50 years of service to the nation he's a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon. But civil rights groups are calling the controversial pardon a "presidential endorsement of racism". Arpaio, who campaigned for Trump in 2016, was known for his crackdown on undocumented immigrants and investigating unfounded Trump-supported claims questioning former President Barack Obama's citizenship. He was convicted for defying a judge's order that his deputies stop detaining Latino motorists solely on suspicion that they were in the country illegally. Arpaio had been scheduled to be sentenced on October 5th and faced a maximum of 6 month's jail time. There was some speculation Trump was originally planning to announce the Arpaio pardon last Tuesday night, during a political rally in Phoenix.