Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County has asserted that he will never offer an apology to the Latino community that he was found guilty of racially profiling during his tenure in law enforcement. Arpaio, after avoiding a jail sentence following a controversial pardon from President Donald Trump, has expressed an interest in running for political office.
On Sept. 9, Arpaio made it clear during an interview that he did not feel any regret for his law enforcement practices that resulted in him being convicted of criminal contempt. The former sheriff batted away the suggestion that he owed Latinos in Maricopa County an apology.
"An apology for doing my job?" Arpaio told Univision News. "That would never happen. I think if I stood on a big tower and I screamed at everyone, at all Hispanics, and I said that I disagreed with all the deportations and said, 'I love you all,' it wouldn't make any difference."
In 1993, Arpaio was elected the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. The law enforcement officer drew national attention for his controversial incarceration methods until he lost a bid for reelection in November 2016. In 2011, a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe found that Arpaio's officers had illegally detained Latino residents based solely on the suspicion that they were undocumented. A federal judge ordered Arpaio to cease all racial profiling in his department, according to The Hill.
On July 31, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt for violating the judge's order.
"[Arpaio] willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates' compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed," Bolton wrote in her decision, according to NPR.
On Aug. 25, Trump announced a presidential pardon for Arpaio. The former sheriff had been a prominent Trump campaign surrogate during the 2016 election, and his presidential reprieve drew fierce condemnation from the Latino community in Maricopa County.
"It's criminal," executive director Petra Falcon of Promise Arizona told the Phoenix New Times. "It's criminal what he's done to this state. I'm at a loss for words."
Immigrants rights activist Salvador Reza believed Trump "just slapped the justice department and two federal judges, stepped all over the Constitution, and said that to him it's more important for someone to be aligned with him than to obey the law."
Meanwhile, Arpaio said he was worried the pardon would hurt Trump's presidency.
"I hate to say this but I'm very sad because the president is taking some heat on this," Arpaio continued. "I never asked for a pardon, I did not talk to him, after months, he did what he thinks is right, not just for me but for the forces of order."
On Aug. 28, Arpaio disclosed that he was considering political office after avoiding jail time.
"I could run for mayor, I could run for legislator, I could run for Senate," Arpaio told the Washington Examiner.
During Arpaio's latest interview, the former sheriff stated that he was unsure which office he would seek.
"For sure it's not going to be president, because we have a good president," Arpaio concluded.
Arpaio's lawyers are currently seeking to have his criminal conviction expunged from his record. On Sept. 11, the Trump administration's DOJ filed court papers urging Bolton to toss out the case in light of Arpaio's presidential pardon, New York Daily News reports.
"A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict," the DOJ said.