More than two years after receiving a pardon from President Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio is looking to get his old job back.
The former Arizona sheriff, who left office in disgrace after being convicted of criminal contempt related to his department’s targeting of suspected illegal immigrants, this week filed election papers signaling his intention to once again run for top law enforcement officer in Maricopa County. As CNN reported, Arpaio submitted close to 10,000 petition signatures to take part in his local primary.
This came after an August announcement from Arpaio saying he planned on running again.
“I will continue to stand and fight to do the right thing for Arizona and America, and will never surrender,” he said at the time, via CNN.
“Those who break the law will have to deal with this Sheriff.”
In his announcement this week, Arpaio said that he planned to “enforce all the laws and Make Maricopa County Safe Again.” But it was his decision to ignore a judge’s order that got Arpaio into trouble more than four years ago, leading to his losing election in 2016. A judge had ruled against Arpaio in a racial profiling case, ordering his department to discontinue its stopping and detaining individuals believed to be in the United States illegally. Local activists said that many Hispanic American citizens were caught up in the policy.
Arpaio was the first person to be pardoned by President Trump, after having been a vocal backer of Trump during his 2016 presidential run. The former sheriff tried to re-start his political career the year after his pardon with a run for the U.S. Senate but lost the Republican primary to Martha McSally.
The Arizona Republican later stirred controversy when he continued to profess his innocence in the matter despite his acceptance of Trump’s pardon including an admission of guilt.
Arpaio gained nationwide fame for his department’s tough approach to crime, opening and outdoor Tent City jail and making inmates wear pink jumpsuits. But he was also criticized for his department’s focus on policing illegal immigration, which critics said came at the detriment of other investigations. His department faced a series of lawsuits from activists and local groups claiming that they were illegally targeting Hispanics in attempted immigration crackdowns.
Arpaio will face the Republican primary for the sheriff’s race on August 4. If he were to win, he would face Democrat Paul Penzone, who defeated Arpaio in 2016.