FILE-In this Wednesday, July 28, 2010 file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks in Phoenix about U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's ruling that blocked the most controversial sections of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect. The former longtime sheriff of metro Phoenix will go to court Monday, June 26, 2017, to defend his reputation at a trial in which he's charged with purposefully disobeying a judge's order. Arpaio is charged with criminal contempt-of-court for prolonging his immigration patrols 17 months after a judge ordered them stopped. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Why Joe Arpaio Deserves to Burn in Hell (A Laundry List)

Last week, 45 pardoned Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who made a name for himself by profiling and abusing Latinxs and immigrants. 

The pardon comes after Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for violating a federal district judge’s order to stop discriminating against Latinos. Trump justified pardoning Arpaio by lauding “his life’s work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration.”

Here are 15 reasons Trump is wrong and Arpaio deserves to burn in hell.

  1. Arpaio was convicted for systematically targeting and illegally detaining Latinxs at traffic stops. He and his officers routinely violated Latinx’s civil rights, creating an environment of fear and terror in Maricopa County — but that’s only the beginning.
  2. During his time as sheriff, Arpaio obsessively targeted Latinxs and immigrants — blowing his budget on discriminatory policing while violent offenses, including sexual violence, went un-investigated.
  3. Arpaio failed to investigate or “inadequately investigated” over 400 sexual violence crimes between 2005 and 2007, including molestations of undocumented children as young as two.
  4. Arpaio is perhaps best known for creating “Tent City,” a detention center he once described as a “concentration camp.” Here, he required inmates to wear pink underwear, work in chain gangs, and live outdoors in temperatures as high as 141 degrees. Detainees, who were mostly Latinx, were routinely humiliated and dehumanized.
  5. As the ACLU explains, women of color were especially vulnerable in Arpaio’s jails. The Justice Department discovered cases where Latina detainees were refused “basic sanitary items” and were “forced to remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation” or were put into “solitary confinement for extended periods of time because of their inability to understand and thus follow a command given in English.”
  6. The Department of Justice’s 2012 complaint against Arpaio describes the harsh treatment of Latinx detainees; Detainees describe regularly being called “paisas,” “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” “fucking Mexicans,” and “stupid Mexicans.”
  7.  Arpaio deprived detainees of food, only providing them with two meals a day, which they paid for out of pocket. In 2013, he took meat off all jail menus  and stopped  serving them salt and pepper to “save taxpayer money” (meanwhile, the civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio cost Maricopa County 44 million dollars).
  8. During their meals, Arpaio forced inmates to watch the Food Channel (“so they can see the good food they’re missing on the outside”) and the Weather Channel (“Joe wants them to see how hot it’s going to be”).
  9. People in Arpaio’s jails received inadequate health care. Detainees with mental illnesses were especially affected.
  10. Arpaio forced Alma Minerva Chacon, a young undocumented woman, to give birth while shackled to a bed. Chacon was not allowed to hold her baby and was told that her child would be turned over to state custody if no one came to pick her up within 72 hours. Delayed medical care caused the death of another pregnant detainee’s baby.
  11. Prioners at Arpaio’s jails committed suicide at extreme rates.
  12. The Phoenix New Times compared the medical care found at county jails to those of prisoner-of-war camps.
  13. Arpaio and his jailers tortured detainees through the use of “medieval looking restraint chairs,” which led to extreme injuries and even death.
  14. Arpaio regularly used humiliation tactics to control and subdue his detainees; from April 2011 to September 2016, Arpaio ran a “mugshot of the day” contest on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s website, turning human beings’ misery into a form of public entertainment.
  15. And if all that’s not enough: Arpaio’s officers once set a puppy on fire and laughed as the dog’s owner cried hysterically.

In sum, Arpaio is scum. I’m just glad I’m young enough that I’ll live to see and celebrate the day he dies.

Header image via The Denver Post

Durham, NC

Barbara is a PhD student at The University of North Carolina. She writes about immigration, migrant activism and organizing, & intersectional feminism.

Barbara is a PhD student at The University of North Carolina. She writes about immigration, migrant activism and organizing, & intersectional feminism.

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