After proceeding with a ban on transgender people serving in the military, President Trump doubled down on cruelty Friday by pardoning disgraced Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt last month for defying a judge's order to stop "sweeps" that racially profiled Hispanic people in search of undocumented immigrants.
Trump is sure to inflame race relations with his latest action, which many see as a direct attack on Latinos, who Arpaio hunted during his reign as Maricopa County sheriff.
Arpaio was ordered by a federal judge in 2012 to stop his "sweeps" of Latino neighborhoods in search of people violating immigration law; the U.S. Justice Department found the previous year that these raids amounted to racial profiling. But Arpaio refused to comply. He lost reelection in 2016 and was found guilty in July of ignoring the judge's order; he hadn't yet been sentenced but could have faced up to six months in jail.
A statement from the White House announced the pardon, which was tweeted by Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner:
BREAKING: TRUMP PARDONS SHERIFF JOE ARPAIO. pic.twitter.com/MqtFbCBhrW
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) August 26, 2017