From Paul Clements (running for Congress in Kalamazoo MI)
Friday, the President announced that he had pardoned notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio on his conviction for contempt of court. When I first heard the news, I called it “a travesty” and “an insult to justice.” Truth be told, I am still in shock. Just to illustrate why pardoning Joe Arpaio is so wrong, let me list some of the horrific, racist, and egregious action of abuse he has perpetuated:
- Officers under Arpaio’s employment once grabbed a pregnant Latina woman, slammed her against a car, stomach-first, three times, and then dragged her into the patrol car and shoved her in the back seat. They left the pregnant woman alone for 30 minutes, without air conditioning, only to issue a citation for “failure to provide an ID.”
- In his inhumane jails, for people convicted of no crimes, and more often than not, illegally detained because of their race, Arpaio withheld sanitary pads and napkins from menstruating women for days, forced to wallow in their menstrual blood.
- Arpaio once neglected a mentally ill prisoner for weeks, until he had lost 20 pounds from starvation and malnourishment.
- Arpaio regularly kept mentally-ill people, under his care, in 85-degree heat until their psychotropic drugs malfunctioned.
- He regularly fed inmates rotten food. Some days they only got bread and water, despite being forced to be in 110 degree weather.
- Deputies under Arpaio’s supervision once raided a home by launching tear gas canisters into the house. The canisters caused the house to combust. A puppy came running out of the house. But his deputies, they drove the puppy back inside, where it burned to death. The homeowners were forced to watch their pet burn to death, while the officers laughed at them.
- Officers in his jail once restrained a veteran in a chair while they tased him multiple times. A few hours later, this veteran died from a cardiac arrest caused by the electric shock.
- Officers arrested a wheelchair bound man for possession of marijuana. Because of his disability, he required a catheter to urinate. He pounded on the cell door to ask for the catheter. To “punish” this man, guards placed him in a “restraint chair” despite not being able to use his legs. During this time, the guards broke his neck. This entire episode was caught on tape. The guards were laughing and smiling while the man writhed.
- A blind man was found dead in Arpaio’s jails. At first, Arpaio claimed he had died because he had fallen from a bunk bed. But, autopsies showed that officers under his supervision had beaten this blind man. This blind man later died from his injuries.
- A 13-year-old came forward that her uncle was raping her. The sheriff told her parents that there was no evidence of rape, but in reality, a state crime lab returned a rape kit that tested positive for semen. Sheriff Arpaio ignored this evidence and withheld it from her parents. The sheriff didn’t arrest her rapist, who raped her continuously for five years until she became pregnant with his child.
Pardoning Sheriff Arpaio says responsibility for conduct like this can go unpunished even when a court has ordered it stopped. Trump is moving America from a constitutional democracy toward a police state.
— We must unite to preserve our democracy and the rule of law. Please support my campaign here to help me fight Trump and his GOP enabler Fred Upton. Paul Clements.