WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, State Innovation Exchange (SiX) Executive Director Nick Rathod released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to issue a presidential pardon to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt earlier this year in a racial profiling case, in which he was accused of abusing his law enforcement powers to target immigrants and people of color:
“At this critical moment when our country desperately needs healing and moral leadership, it is deeply disappointing and troubling to see the President of the United States make decisions that further divide us. He did so in the wake of Charlottesville with his comments supporting white nationalist terrorists and yet again today in the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“Sheriff Arpaio is a racist and a bigot who used his platform within law enforcement to target and humiliate people based solely on the color of their skin. His 24-year tenure as Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona reflected the beliefs of groups like the alt-right and was an affront to the values and aspirations that drew immigrants like my own parents to this country. His tenure personified the worst stereotypes of law enforcement and undermined efforts of other law enforcement officials who put their lives on the line every day to protect communities.
“The pardoning power of the President is a privilege that exists to advance justice. It is unfortunate that the President has chosen to use it to defend injustice, reinforce his bigotry, and to sow further divisions in this country.”