President Donald Trump pardoned 85-year-old Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, yesterday evening. Arpaio was convicted of misdemeanor criminal contempt in July after he disregarded a federal court order mandating that he stop racially profiling Latinos. Before the president issued the executive pardon, Arpaio was scheduled for sentencing on October 5. He was facing a maximum of six months jail time.

On July 31, a judge determined that Arpaio violated a court’s mandate that he cease detention of suspected illegal immigrants. The court order initially evolved from a Justice Department report in 2011 which found that Arpaio and his sheriff’s officers engaged in profiling Latinos.

After the 2011 finding, a judge ruled in 2013 that the former sheriff was racially profiling.

Politicians hold diverse opinions of President granting pardon

Democratic Phoenix, AZ, Mayor Greg Stanton likened the Presidential pardon to a slap in the face to Maricopa County and mostly to Latinos in the community.

Arpaio told NBC News that he appreciates President Trump’s pardon and is thankful the president stood by him and law enforcement. He said he is “very humbled” and believes that he has been vindicated. Arpaio plans to hold a press conference Monday.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, AZ, stated that his preference would have been for President Trump to let the judicial process run its course. Prior to the pardon, Arpaio intended to appeal his criminal conviction.

Arpaio had the reputation as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” which he embraced. Critics accused him as harsh, brutal, and racist, the Los Angeles Times noted. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) relayed that President Trump chose “lawlessness over justice” by pardoning Arpaio. The ACLU also asserted that the pardon is the president’s endorsement of racism.

U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) conveyed that the former sheriff “hurt Arizonans,” costing taxpayers a lot financially, the Times reported. She said Arpaio is like everyone else and is not above the law. “He should be held accountable.”

Police organization supports president’s decision

The president of the National Center for Police Defense sees Arpaio and the presidential pardon differently than do critics.

James Fotis praised the pardon. He stated that the president “recognized Sheriff Arpaio was doing his job,” according to the Times. Fotis also said Arpaio deserved to be forgiven, saying that the former Sheriff did his job. Many of the people who were detained, according to Fotis, were “hardened criminals and gang members.”

Before he lost a bid for re-election in November 2016, Arpaio was a sheriff for 24 years. During his law enforcement tenure, he housed inmates in a tent city and created quite a style stir when he forced detainees to wear pink underwear.

During President Trump’s 2016 candidacy, the former sheriff endorsed Trump. Regardless of the outcome of the president’s decision whether to grant a pardon, Arpaio voiced his continued support for the president.

He affirmed, “I’m with him to the end,” NBC News relayed.

Following more than 50 years’ service protecting the public, Arpaio “he is a worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” according to the White House statement issued about President Trump pardoning the former sheriff.