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Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Photo: Courthouse News

U.S. Rep. Steve Knight termed President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio “improper” in a letter to a constituent Monday.

Knight, R-Palmdale, a retired LAPD officer, was responding to an inquiry from John Windsor of Castaic, who expressed concerns regarding the propriety of the pardon.

Arpaio was convicted of racial profiling and discrimination, but not yet sentenced when he was pardoned.

The text of Knight’s letter to Windsor follows:

September 11, 2017

Mr. John Windsor

(address on) Live Oak Road, Castaic


Dear Mr. Windsor:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about President Trump pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

As you may know, Arpaio is the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. During his tenure, Arpaio became an extremely controversial figure for his strategies to combat illegal immigration and management of the county jail. In addition, Arpaio became notorious several years ago for pushing the debunked theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.

After Arpaio was sued for allegations that his practices promoted racial profiling and discrimination, a federal judge issued an order for the Sheriff to immediately stop the practices in question. Despite this order, Arpaio continued these practices and was later convicted of contempt of court and further proceedings were being conducted for alleged criminal intent.

On August 25, President Trump issued a Presidential Pardon for Arpaio, despite the fact that there has yet to be any sentence levied against the former Sheriff. In addition, this pardon was not processed through the normal Department of Justice clemency procedures. While the office of the President reserves the authority to grant pardons as best seen fit, the circumstances surrounding this case and nature of Arpaio’s transgressions lead me to believe this pardon was improper.

As a former LAPD officer, the rule of law and the order established by the judiciary is extremely important to me. Given that Arpaio was a vocal and ardent supporter of President Trump throughout the 2016 election, I am deeply concerned that this pardon may have been issued as a political favor rather than a tool for justice. In addition, reports of the tactics used by Arpaio’s Sheriff’s Department do not reflect an organization that treated all of its constituents equally under the law. Many of his decisions seem to have been for the purpose of generating media attention, rather than being in the service of justice and order.

While past Presidents have used their pardon powers for controversial reasons that many deemed improper, this does not give a pass to the current administration to do so as well. It is my hope that President Trump exercises more prudence in future deliberations over this immense responsibility. Rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to monitor the administration’s actions and as my colleagues and I in congress continue to serve the American people.

As always, I appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you in the future. It is an honor to represent you in Congress. For more information on constituent services, current legislation, and to sign up for my E-newsletter, please visit my website at www.knight.house.gov.
Steve Knight
Member of Congress

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  1. Eva Gritz Eva Gritz says:

    Now, That is shocking! ~Peace and Love~

  2. Sally Mehr Sally Mehr says:

    Not improper at all…

  3. Sandra Knopf Sandra Knopf says:

    I think the court decision was improper and the Pardon was the easiest way to correct it.

  4. Keep an eye on all Trump activity. Not goid for GOP, not good for country.

  5. And this type of though is exactly why people like joe arpaio still exist. A bullet through his head. Calling names that are made up.
    It does nothing for your cause. It just makes you look intolerant.

    If you truly feel that this man is a racist and so bad, you should be talking about how you would like to see better for this country, not promoting more violence toward other humans.

    But hey, to each their own I guess.

  6. Ron Entrekin Ron Entrekin says:

    Good for Rep. Knight! And I don’t say that often.
    God forbid we let the facts of the case interfere with our opinion.

  7. Jeanne M says:

    When I want elect Knight (not) to be President I will give a crap about what he thinks about this.

    Thank goodness we don’t have a “hall monitor” as President more worried about procedure than fairness.

  8. Jon Real Jon Real says:

    Why is he a racist? Because he up held the law? Sad! You’re doing a lot of personal attacks against people with no true substance!

  9. Sheriff Joe is awesome!

  10. Dick Jeffrey says:

    I am sad to hear that our Congressman Knight has chosen to side against our President on this issue. Chief Arpio has proven himself an ardent supporter of the law when constitutionally correct and within his powers to do so. The left has taken it upon themselves to constantly attack the Chief and were determined to destroy him at all costs. Arpio is over 80 years old with a lifetime of BRAVE AND HONORABLE SERVICE and is absolutely undeserving of such treatment. I’ve noticed that Congressman Knight has followed his leaders in the House in being less than supportive of our Commander in Chief and find his lack of support petsonally disappointing and deplorable. This is a turning point for me Steve.

    • eileen says:

      Arpaio is a blatant racist and a lawbreaker! If you support him, you are the same as he is. I am not a supporter of Congressman Knight, but he absolutely made the right call on this issue! We need our representatives to stand up to Trump and his misogyny, racism, and ego. And, if you really do like the guy, at least spell his name correctly!

  11. I don’t agree with many of Rep. Knights positions, but I certainly do on this one.

  12. So what’s he gonna do about it?

  13. Patty Ann Patty Ann says:

    We need more people like Sheriff Joe running our prisons.

  14. Patty Ann Patty Ann says:

    Name calling makes you look so grown up.

  15. I don’t think it matters what Knight thinks about it! #moveon

  16. Kj Allen Kj Allen says:

    Calling people names makes your post childish.

  17. Rory Csaszar Rory Csaszar says:

    Jon Real i love how you say SAD! just like trump does on twitter! you must be related to that fat chimp.

  18. Taking my vote back stevie.

  19. Mike says:

    At what point will people who follow politicians ever word, wake up and realize these people are born blowhards…of nonsense…just like Hollywood folks whose ego’s prevent any real leadership… think for yourselves…and get your head out of the sand…the media is a simple promoter of angles of argument… left or right…OK mostly left..left.. come on…”improper?”….its whining …politicing…gaming…you can’t take a person seriously who couldn’t compete in the workplace…to save his life…jerry brown fantasy land alive n well after smoking too much pot…for many many years… improper ha! What a joke we pay these loosers…

  20. Norm Tatlock Norm Tatlock says:

    Unless Knight believes all pardons are improper, I’m curious to hear his reply to Obama’s 1,927 pardons – who pardoned more criminals than the previous 13 presidents combined.

  21. mellie says:

    Steve Knight is turning into a leftist; I wonder how many of them have gotten to him. He obviously doesn’t know the laws that he should know, given what his job is. Sheriff Joe should never have been arrested and put on trial simply for doing his job, which was following the existing law protecting the American people. Knight needs to be removed.

  22. Mary Rivera says:

    Racial profiling is discrimination but until all states and the federal government actually define, ban and criminalize such actions, the practice will never end.

  23. Guy Nohrenberg says:

    Shocking only to those who have perpetuated the stereotyping and pigeinholing of Congressman Knight. As the Left Extremists struggle to attach labels of unfairness, they are continually brought back from their artificial high, to the reality that our congressman is a fair and honest man. Reality is shocking isn’t it Hippies! 😁😁😁

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