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Presidential Pardon of Former Maricopa County Sheriff Shows Further Endorsement of Unethical Police Procedures


Dated: Saturday August 26, 2017

The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, as both a body of professional criminal justice practitioners and members of the communities we serve, has constantly and consistently committed itself to the core principals of Community Policing. We firmly believe that police abuse of authority and misconduct, racial profiling, and excessive use of force are unacceptable, unprofessional, and abhorrent, and have no legitimate place or purpose in practice within our profession.

It is with this in mind that we find the recent Presidential Pardon of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joseph Arpaio to be a strong indicator of an acceptance that racial profiling, discriminatory treatment of community members, defiance of the rules of law, and unprofessional conduct in general should be standard procedures adopted by members of law enforcement. That acceptance is in direct contrast to the principles of Community Policing, and would seem to approve of wholesale illegal activity on the part of those who have sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws that it has emboldened.

The Presidential Pardon is even more concerning in consideration of the finding by the U.S. Justice Department that, while serving as Sheriff, Mr.Arpaio caused his agency to not only engage in a pattern and practice of systematic and widespread discriminatory practices both in its interactions with the public and the operation of its correctional facilities, but also used the powers of his office to harass and intimidate his detractors.

It is our strong and firm belief that the awarding of this pardon to someone with such a long history of racially biased actions and policies will adversely impact an already unsteady relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve, causing irreparable harm to the bonds that are needed to keep both the community, and its law enforcement guardians, safe. It, as well, further damages the President’s already frail image where it concerns the perception of his attitudes towards communities of color.

The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.

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