Sheriff Joe Arpaio ousted from office in Phoenix, Arizona

Despite Republican candidate Donald Trump besting Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton in Arizona’s presidential race on Tuesday, controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his bid for reelection.

In his bid to win a seventh term as Maricopa sheriff, the gruff, 84-year-old Arpaio lost to Democratic challenger Paul Penzone, a former member of the Phoenix Police Department.  Penzone narrowly lost to Arpaio in 2012.

Losing to Penzone, Arpaio earned slightly more than 45 percent of the vote, while his political ally, Donald Trump, received nearly half of all presidential ballots cast in Maricopa County, which encompasses Arizona’s capital city of Phoenix.

Long describing himself as the “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” Arpaio is best known for denying luxuries to inmates such as pornographic material and reclining chairs.

Sheriff Arpaio also instituted chain gangs, temporary housing for prisoners in so-called “Tent cities” and the required some inmates to wear pink undergarments, all policies which drew criticism. Arpaio countered that these reforms saved tax dollars.

Arpaio was also both lauded and vilified for his expansion of Maricopa County’s all-citizen posse, which he used to direct traffic, conduct search-and-rescue operations, prisoner transport and round up illegal immigrants.

It was, however, the practice of racial profiling which drew the attention of both civil liberties groups and the Obama Justice Department, ensnaring Arpaio in a long-running court case which eventually led to the charge of contempt of court.

Following the arrest of a Mexican tourist in 2007, Arpaio and members of his office were charged with practices which discriminated on the basis of race.  Arpaio repeatedly filed appeals and the case was expanded into a class-action suit.

After admitting to a refusal to comply with lawful court orders, Arpaio was charged with contempt on Oct. 26.


[RT America] [AP/Politico] [Photo courtesy]