Criminal ex-sheriff, Joe Arpaio, wants Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat
Trump and Arpaio. | AP

The Trump-pardoned criminal, Joe Arpaio, rose from his political grave this week to announce he is running for the US Senate. The 85-year-old anti-immigrant crusader and prison advocate came under fire for violating a court-ordered cessation of his racial profiling while he was sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County.

He was found guilty and lost a re-election bid by a huge margin.

After being found guilty of criminal contempt of court, Arpaio was issued a pardon by President Trump. The pardon was unusual, having been issued less than a month after his conviction, and before his official sentencing. A reprieve that early in the judicial process is rare, and in this case, it reflected favoritism so often granted by a president who rewards people solely on the basis of whether they backed his campaign.

Arpaio served 24 years as sheriff of Maricopa County, where his reign of terror included the innovation of the infamous outdoor prison, “Tent City,” in which inmates were publicly humiliated by being forced to wear pink uniforms. The egregious conditions were only made worse by the sweltering Arizona heat, and the drop-by “shaming tours” that were given to visitors. During Arpaio’s time overseeing Tent City, the prison housed an estimated 1,700 inmates, among whom were as many as 200 undocumented immigrants.

There are credible reports that indicate almost two decades of civil rights violations, revealed patterns of false arrests and abuse of power under Arpaio’s command. The former sheriff cost the county $92 million in court settlements and legal fees, leaving behind a legacy of terror, misconduct, and financial incompetence.

Now after years of willfully and intentionally committed criminal acts, by attempting to obstruct justice, Arpaio has decided that his skill set is best utilized in politics. The pardoned extremist announced this week that he planned on running for Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat in the upcoming 2018 congressional elections. Arpaio tweeted that his one “unwavering reason” for entering the race was to “support the agenda and policies of President Donald Trump in his mission to Make America Great Again.”

Arpaio’s chilling announcement is indicative of dark days ahead for many; Arpaio made no apologies during his time as sheriff when it came to his inhumane practices. To top it off, Arpaio seems to be eager to exploit the congressional power awarded to those elected into office. “Being a U.S. senator is a little different than being the sheriff, because you can do a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, and I have many plans, believe me.”

There is no doubt that Arpaio, with a track record of human rights violations, will fulfill the campaign promises he is making. In many ways that makes the former-sheriff a more threatening force than the average politician, unlike his counterparts he follows through. With the congressional race approaching, the pressure is on to organize against the man who has literally built a career around terrorizing marginalized communities. Only the voters can come together and mobilize against the threats that the Trump administration has posed; starting with eliminating the foot soldiers of the Trumpocalypse. Keep Arpaio out of office 2018.


Michelle Zacarias
Michelle Zacarias

Michelle Zacarias was a staff writer at People's World. A graduate of the Univ. of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Zacarias invested her time in raising awareness on issues of social justice and equality. Michelle self identifies as multi-marginalized: as a Latina, a woman of color and a person with disabilities.