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Penzone: Trump’s pardon of Arpaio went against American values

(AP Photo)
LISTEN: Sheriff Paul Penzone

PHOENIX — Last week’s pardon of Joe Arpaio by President Donald Trump went against American values, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Tuesday.

“We truly went against all of our values,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos. “As we look to our families, our children, we talk about right and wrong and accountability and consequences, this is an example where none of those rules applied.”

Penzone said he disagreed with and was disappointed in Trump’s decision to pardon Arpaio, especially given that Arpaio went against the constitutional rights of Arizona’s Latino community.

“We have a population that was mistreated and, for those out there that want to try to make excuses, at the end of the day, we have a Constitution and those amendments in the Constitution speak specifically about issues such as unlawful search and seizure and they don’t say, ‘Unless the following factors apply,'” he said.

“A community was basically insulted that they had been abused and then this, you know, there was a pardon applied.”

The sheriff also said he wished the judicial branch would have been allowed to carry through with its job.

“They didn’t get a chance to conclude their process and it was a legitimate due process,” he said. “It was treated differently because of whatever factors the president, who has the authority, whatever factors he deemed appropriate to apply this pardon.”

The sheriff said he was personally bothered by the pardon because it seemed as if Trump allowed Arpaio to get away with racially profiling Latinos.

“Here’s what bothers me … I’m a firm believer in contrition,” he said. “Own the responsibility if you’ve done something wrong or you failed in some way – especially if you’re a leader – lead by example and say, ‘I didn’t do that right. I should have done it better. Here’s why and here’s what I’ll do.'”

“Without contrition, it was basically a statement of, ‘Did it. Got away with it.’ No accountability.”

Penzone also said the pardon would make it more difficult for his deputies to do their job, as they had been working to regain the confidence of a distrusting Latino community since Arpaio was voted out in November.

“It takes us back even further because how can you say, ‘Well, we’re trying to take care of this,’ and the person they deem most responsible gets a pass when everyone else is still dealing with it,” he said.

Penzone said the community as a whole should take solace in the fact that Arpaio was voted out of office in November and changes could then be made.

“It was a strong statement where Republicans, Democrats, independents – people of all walks of life – wanted something different in this community,” he said. “They stood up. They fought for it. Better days are ahead.”

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