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Potential Arpaio Pardon Provokes Outrage In Arizona

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio stumped for Donald Trump in Phoenix during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio stumped for Donald Trump in Phoenix during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
August 16, 2017

PHOENIX - Civil-liberties groups in Arizona are slamming the idea of a pardon for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio after President Trump said he is seriously considering such a move ahead of a rumored visit to the state next week.

Arpaio, 85, faces six months in jail for violating a court order to stop racially profiling people suspected of being undocumented immigrants.

State Rep. Tony Navarrete, D-Phoenix, said Trump seems to be dismissing people of color who felt unfairly harassed by Arpaio's deputies.

"Not only is that a slap in the face to our justice system," Navarrete said, "but it is also a slap in the face to the voters of Maricopa County, who have faced Arpaio for decades, who have fought hard to make sure that he was held accountable for his actions."

Arpaio lost a re-election bid in November after 24 years in office. On Monday, his attorneys requested a new trial, arguing that he should have been given a jury trial. The original case ended with a court order to stop turning undocumented people over to federal immigration agents if they were not suspected of any state crime.

Trump is rumored to be planning a campaign-style rally in Phoenix next Tuesday, based on reports that his campaign has asked the Phoenix Convention Center about availability. Navarrete said Trump surely would face large protests and give immigrants'-rights activists a boost in the process.

"We're gonna use that as an opportunity to continue to go out into the neighborhoods and register voters who support dignity and justice for all people in the state of Arizona," Navarrete said.

The ACLU of Arizona also condemned the idea of a pardon. Sentencing for Arpaio currently is set for Oct. 5.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ