The Japanese American Citizens League condemned President Trump’s pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the following statement on Wednesday.
Mr. Arpaio abused the power of his position to blatantly engage in racial profiling, resulting in the harassment, intimidation, and often the illegal detention of Latino individuals. As sheriff, Mr. Arpaio further retaliated against the Latino civil rights activists, instructing his officers to park their cruisers in front of elementary schools and community health clinics in Latino neighborhoods, instilling fear in children and their parents.
In 2013, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow found the sheriff guilty of racial profiling and ordered an end to the practice. The sheriff continued to defy the law and was found in contempt by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton.
President Trump, while granted wide power to pardon by the Constitution, has abused this power in granting a pardon to Mr. Arpaio, who not only was found to be systematically using racial profiling and terrorizing the Latino community, but also found guilty of defying a direct order from the courts. No one should be above the law, especially those who have sworn to protect and uphold it.
This pardon sends a strong signal that the Trump Administration holds little regard for the rule of law and will continue the practice of institutional racism. This cannot and should not be tolerated. We applaud the widespread and bipartisan condemnation of this pardon and the signal it sends to the public, law enforcement officials, and the judiciary.
Arizona chapter president Donna Cheung speaks for the JACL in stating, “A healthy democracy requires an independent judiciary so that justice will be served and not denied by the whims of personal loyalty. After placing faith in the U.S. judicial system, the Arizona Latino community, like the Japanese American community many years ago, has been denied justice. We stand with the Arizona Latino community in solidarity and understanding.”
For more information about the Arizona JACL chapter, please go to www.jaclaz.org/.