WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 26, 2017) — U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5) on Saturday condemned the presidential pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County Sheriff who he called of the country’s most notorious racists who racially profiled Latinos and tortured and humiliated inmates. Arpaio was lawfully convicted for refusing to comply with a court order to stop violating people’s constitutional rights.
Ellison said President Donald Trump’s pardon of Arpaio proves that the President thinks criminal law-breaking is okay, as long as it only harms certain people.
“Pardons are used when those convicted of crimes show a willingness to reform and become better citizens. Joe Arpaio has not done either,” Elloson said. “He has not apologized, shown remorse for his crimes or a willingness to repair the damage he’s done to his community.
“Yet, Donald Trump believes that a man who used race as a way to abuse and oppress people is an ‘American patriot,'” he added.
The pardon comes just hours after it was reported that the Trump Administration may end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and signed a directive to ban transgender military recruits — all while a Category 4 Hurricane was making landfall in Texas and putting millions of lives at risk, he said.
“And let’s not forget, just two weeks ago, Trump said that some white supremacists and neo-Nazis were ‘fine people,'” Ellison said. “It’s clear. President Trump is giving cover to white supremacy.”
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a coalition of five civil rights organizations, said in a statement that the organization is outraged and that Arpaio’s pardon is the Trump administration sending another dog whistle to white supremacists.
Arpaio was found guilty in July of criminal contempt for ignoring a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. During Arpaio?s 24-year tenure as sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, he terrorized Latino communities, often detaining individuals without a warrant or criminal charge and in detestable jail conditions. Arpaio used the power and resources of his role to systematically discriminate against immigrants and he violated the constitutional rights of the people he was sworn to serve and protect. President Trump?s disregard for the rule of law and the judiciary continues his dangerous pattern of placing himself above and beyond democratic systems of justice.
America is under attack by an administration driven by white supremacy and bigotry, which seeks to diminish the rights of communities of color and other vulnerable populations, AAAJ said. President Trump’s rapid race to roll back our nation’s values of liberty and justice for all is appalling and should serve as a call to stand with all targeted communities and fight for the justice they deserve.