Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a notoriously racist and destructive man who was convicted earlier in 2017 for ignoring a judge's order to stop racially profiling his Arizona constituents by stopping Latino people at traffic lights to check for undocumented immigrants. Arpaio's crimes against human beings in his jails are extensive. Before he was voted out of office, he reportedly established a "tent prison" system in the Arizona desert, where prisoners were held in tents that reached up to 128 degrees everyday. Pregnant women in his jail were allegedly shackled to the beds during labor. The death rate from neglect and suicide in his jails was astronomical.
Anyway, President Trump pardoned him, shortly after catching criticisms for how he spoke of white supremacist violence at the recent protests in Charlottesville.
Arpaio liked to style himself as the "toughest sheriff in America." Arpaio liked to style himself as the "toughest sheriff in America." But reports indicate that Arpaio was not only tough and cruel, but inept. This story of a failed raid was brought to attention again following Arpaio's pardon by former Ethics Director Walter Shaub, illustrating how Arpaio gave a poorly trained force in Arizona permission to conduct raids as it saw fit, with terrible consequences.
The story excerpted there is from the Phoenix News Times, and it references a bumbling raid made by Arpaio's officers on a house that ended in a fire and the death of a dog for no reason:
And in the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog's owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze."I was crying hysterically," Andrea Barker, one of the dog's owners, tells me. "I was so upset. They [deputies] were laughing at me."
The raid was ostensibly to find an illegal stockpile of guns supposedly in the house. In the end, there were two guns, both registered and legal. No crime had been committed, no charges were pressed, but a house was burned down in a densely populated neighborhood.
According to the story, the police were getting dressed for the raid in the front yard and one of their vehicles went rogue and created property damage when the breaks failed. Though they fired canisters of pressurized gas into the house, they had no fire truck on standby. They eventually blamed the blaze on a candle in an upper bedroom, claiming it was knocked over in the scuffle. The house's owners disagree. The dog's body was left in the building for five days.
It's a terrible story, but just one of many worse. And this is the guy Donald Trump thanked for his "admirable service."