By Raoul Lowery Contreras
The rule of law has been uprooted by President Donald J. Trump.
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Trump told us who he by his reaction to the Charlottesville gathering of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists. His attitude and record are clear. He perfectly reflects his father’s racial attitudes that surfaced when Papa Trump was arrested during a 1927 Ku Klux Klan riot in New York City in which the Ku Kluckers attacked police officers, according to a New York Times report of the day.
Trump’s profound dislike of African Americans and Latinos has been obvious since he worked in the family’s apartment rental company in Ohio and New York City. The Trumps illegally discouraged Black and Puerto Rican rental applications. They coded applications with letters like “C” for colored and “S” for Spanish.
Investigators sent in to apply for apartments gathered slam-dunk criminal evidence within a short time. The Department of Justice filed discrimination lawsuits against Trump and his father. The Trumps attacked the federal government, and their lawyers criminally tried to smear the young 26-year-old woman lawyer leading the government legal team.
All to no avail. The evidence was so strong that the Trumps settled with the Justice Department by signing consent decrees agreeing they wouldn’t discriminate in the future. In addition, they had to surrender processing of rental applications to a civil rights organization, the Urban League, and they had to spend a great deal of money buying ads in newspapers declaring that they were a “fair housing” organization. That was 1975; Donald Trump was 29 years old.
Certainly Trump’s current problems with blacks and Mexican Americans started long before he announced for President and attacked 150 million Mexicans, long before he attacked lawfully-elected President Barack Obama’s citizenship, and long before he flagrantly pardoned the most racist American sheriff since Alabama’s Bull Connor and his savage police dogs attacked black children waving American flags.
With his pardon of former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, all can see that Trump has little respect for the rule of law or the thousands of Hispanics whose rights Arpaio violated. Arpaio unleashed the largest force of lawbreaking, badge-wearing, gun-toting deputies since the civil rights days of the 1960s in the South.
Arpaio’s deputies didn’t kill people that looked Mexican, but they killed the Constitution of the United States by detaining Mexican-looking people even if they had committed no state crime. In other words, just if they looked Mexican.
Anonymous calls to the sheriff’s office tipped off Arpaio’s anti-illegal alien forces that employees or customers at local fast food places were illegally present — the “proof” being targets spoke Spanish. There were so many deputies assigned to the anti-illegal alien forces that crime in the Valley of the Sun skyrocketed and complaints went un-investigated. Sexual criminals ran rampant in Phoenix because deputies were too busy raiding fast food joints.
To fund his ersatz campaign, Arpaio raided a $100 million bond voted by the people to enlarge jail facilities. One of his proudest achievements was to build an outdoor tent jail that he filled with undocumented Mexican immigrants who he dressed in pink underwear in an attempt to degrade Mexican men who, like Italian-American Arpaio, insist on being “macho.”
Insult and degrade, diminish and humiliate — that is what Joe Arpaio and his number one supporter, Donald Trump, do.
The voters of Maricopa County threw Arpaio out of office last November. A federal judge determined that the sheriff was illegally racial profiling and he ordered Arapio to stop it. Arpaio ignored the judge’s order to stop the racial profiling. The judge referred Arpaio to the Justice Department for prosecution for criminal contempt of court. The Justice Department prosecuted and Arpaio was convicted. Sentencing was scheduled for October. Arpaio stated he would accept a pardon if his friend President Trump offered one.
Trump granted the pardon after avoiding regular federal Justice Department pardon procedures that don’t even start until sentencing.
In so doing, President Trump showed the world that despite Arpaio’s whimpering that “I was only doing my job,” he is 100 percent guilty of federal criminal contempt of court. The pardon does not erase the conviction; it is set in historic concrete. It can never disappear. Joe Arpaio is the sheriff who ended his career with a federal criminal conviction without even an appeal.
Perhaps we owe the President thanks for exposing Arpaio, the man who used to be “America’s toughest sheriff,” for what he is — a convicted criminal.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and the author of “The Armenian Lobby & American Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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