Sheriff Joe Arpaio got a lot of national publicity for running a strict jail for Maricopa County in Arizona, one of the early big stories was a tent city in the desert rather than a “cozy” building. From that he rode a wave of populism for how to be tough against criminals. But was he really a tough guy or was he abusive? Decide for yourself from the coverage of the local media.
- In 1997 an inmate, locked up for petty theft, reacted severely to his Crohn’s disease since he did not have his prescribed medication. The sheriff’s staff failed to respond promptly to his condition, which ended up with a hospital visit that cost taxpayers $30,000 (where his prescription would have cost $400). The sheriff called it inmate fiction, but the hospital did not treat a fictitious case.
- In 1999, an inmate who placed in a cell where air circulation was cut off and eventually he died, his corpse registering a temperature of 109 degrees at time of examination. The guard did not like what the inmate had been saying to him and cut off the air flow.
- In 1999 he staged a fake assassination story, including false arrest and imprisonment, only to get more publicity. The resulting lawsuit cost taxpayers over $1 million to settle.
- In 2004 he arrested, on false charges, a New York Times reporter who was digging into his shady real estate deals.
- Also in 2004, an errant SWAT team raid led to setting a puppy on fire. It was one of a series of botched raids over time as reported by the Phoenix New Times.
- Between 2005 and 2007, the Sheriff was contracted with to provide police services to the area and refused to investigate sex crimes against Latino victims.
- In 2008, a pregnant female inmate locked up for a pair of DUI’s was not transported to a hospital as she went in labor, which resulted in the otherwise healthy pregnancy ending in a stillborn. The Sheriff, who would not allow legal abortions in the jail and a professed pro-lifer, has similar put pregnant inmates in pre-natal jeopardy.
- In 2009 he marched Latino prisoners, in chains, into an open detention area with an electric fence, with tops that read “unsentenced” because they had committed no crimes but were awaiting deportation hearings.
- In 2010, the Sheriff bragged about his tent city being a “concentration camp”
- In 2012 he sent, at taxpayer expense, some sheriff office staff to Hawaii to investigate President Obama’s birth certificate. The Sheriff is a “birther“.
- In 2013, the ACLU won a case against the sheriff for racially profiling, he subsequently ignored that request very publicly, which led to his federal contempt of court conviction in 2015 (and cost the county $44 million in lawsuits). But not before the sheriff tried to destroy evidence.
- In November 2015, it was revealed 160 inmates had died in the Sheriff’s care, most from suicide (by hanging). Compared to other jails across the country, Maricopa County had a 25% suicide rate, most other jails hover around 10%. It cost taxpayers $140 million in lawsuits.
This is who President Trump decided needed a full pardon.