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Joe Arpaio: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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Sep 11, 2017

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Joe Arpaio: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
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  • Presidential Pardons...
  • the only genuine get out of jail free card.
  • Pardons are one of the most powerful tools available
  • to a President and they have been used controversially
  • in the past.
  • Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich.
  • Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.
  • And as we've mentioned before, Abraham Lincoln once
  • pardoned a man for attempted bestiality.
  • -That is true. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • And in fairness, this was the horse.
  • That's a pretty fuckable horse right there.
  • I'm not saying that you should fuck it,
  • I'm just saying I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating apples.
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -The point here is...
  • While we were away Donald Trump issued his very first pardon
  • and it was a doozy.
  • REPORTER: A legal lightning bolt from President Trump
  • late Friday.
  • A presidential pardon for Arizona's controversial,
  • anti-illegal immigration hardliner... Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
  • That's right. Donald Trump pardons Joe Arpaio.
  • A man who answer's the question,
  • "What if a decaying Russet potato somehow hated Mexicans?"
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -But--
  • But let's look at that decision because if the President
  • of the United States is going to use his very first pardon
  • on someone this early in his term it really is worth knowing
  • exactly who Joe Arpaio is,
  • and what the implications of this decision may be.
  • And you probably may have heard of Joe Arpaio before.
  • He is carefully cultivated an image over 25 years
  • as a hard-nosed Sheriff with unconventional methods
  • that the media has lapped up.
  • REPORTER 2: Joe Arpaio is known as America's toughest Sheriff.
  • Sheriff Arpaio who's been dubbed,
  • "America's Toughest Sheriff."
  • REPORTER 3: America's toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
  • REPORTER 4: He's known as "America's Toughest Sheriff,"
  • for his crackdowns on illegal immigration and petty crime.
  • REPORTER 5: He brags about making prisoners eat
  • bologna sandwiches so rotten, the meat has turned green.
  • REPORTER 6: He makes his inmates wear pink.
  • He uses chain gangs.
  • REPORTER 7: Inmates are forced to wear striped prison garb
  • and pink underwear.
  • Well, that is just awful.
  • The pink underwear is fine but no one should be forced
  • to wear horizontal stripes.
  • They widen the silhouette. That is a fact.
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -That's a fashion fact.
  • Now, Arpaio didn't really mind that coverage.
  • He actually welcomed it, 'cause he loves being on camera
  • so much that he essentially spent years
  • treating prisoners as props for a reality show.
  • And sometimes, literally, he actually had
  • a short-lived show called, "Smile... You're Under Arrest!",
  • Where people with outstanding warrants would be tricked
  • into appearing on a set, only to be pranked
  • in the worst way possible.
  • Oh, wait, wait, I got one more surprise.
  • NARRATOR: These two people are actually
  • Deputies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office.
  • Take him down! Take him down!
  • So, dude, you gotta smile, 'cause you're under arrest.
  • MCEE: Oh, (CENSORED) for real!
  • -For real! (LAUGHING) -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
  • Whoomp, there it is!
  • -Wait. Wait. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • Whoomp, there it is.
  • Now, for the record, even then that reference was 15 years old.
  • Which is a weird wiggity-whack thing to do, dog.
  • And look, tricking people into arrest for your own amusement
  • is a terrible idea for a reality show.
  • The only worst idea is not making Peter the bachelor.
  • -Look at that face. Are you idiots, ABC? -(AUDIENCE CHEERS, APPLAUDING)
  • Let me just say this Peter...
  • If you are out there you are and shall forever remain
  • my bachelor, #PETERISMYBACHELOR #HESACATCHELOR
  • Now, Arpaio will honestly do anything for a camera
  • and if you don't believe me
  • watch him sing his favorite song,
  • which, of course, is...
  • Frank Sinatra's My Way, the universal anthem
  • -of assholes everywhere. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • Watch him sing it for a documentary film crew.
  • -♪ The record shows ♪ -♪ ("MY WAY" INSTRUMENTAL BY FRANK SINATRA PLAYING) ♪
  • ♪ I took the blows ♪
  • ♪ And did it my way ♪
  • Here's something interesting there...
  • when Frank Sinatra heard that he actually climbed
  • out of his grave,
  • walked 400 miles to Arpaio's house,
  • rang the door bell and simply said... "No."
  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • But, what does, "Doing it Arpaio's way," actually mean?
  • Because Trump didn't just pardon him, he touted Arpaio's support
  • on the campaign trail, even having him speak
  • at the Republican convention.
  • So, Trump clearly doesn't seem to have any real problem
  • with Arpaio's way.
  • And for the record, it is far more that just
  • the eye-catching circus that you've seen so far,
  • and many people were affected.
  • Maricopa County where he was the Sheriff until just last year
  • contains over four million people.
  • That's a higher population than that of 24 states.
  • And conditions in his tent city weren't just eccentric,
  • they were appalling.
  • Temperatures there could rise as high as 145 degrees.
  • Food was limited to two meals a day.
  • And then, there was this...
  • REPORTER 8: Chinese law enforcement officials
  • drop in for some tips from Joe, who just brushed up
  • on his Mandarin.
  • -I hear China very tough on criminal. -Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
  • -Correct? -Uh-huh. Yeah.
  • -I'm asking them, in China... -WOMAN: Yes.
  • "Do they put women on a chain gang?" -WOMAN: Yes. Yes.
  • -No. -JOE ARPAIO: Uh, thank you. I am still...
  • -the first in the, in the world! -(WOMAN SPEAKING CHINESE)
  • Yes. Arpaio actually put women on chain gangs.
  • So, I guess, #FEMINISM?
  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • I-- It's a grey area.
  • And look, remem-- remember Arpaio operates jails,
  • not prisons, and jails...
  • are typically for people serving sentences of less than a year
  • or even just awaiting trial,
  • which is not to say that anyone should be subjected to
  • some of Arpaio's treatment.
  • At one point, he actually installed web cams in the jail,
  • one of which showed female inmates using the toilet,
  • which wound up being linked to by pornographic sites.
  • And while the cameras were eventually pulled,
  • the Sheriff's office defended themselves
  • with their lawyer saying, "They did not show the
  • private part of any inmates," and...
  • "...no juveniles would have been displayed
  • unless they 'look older and lie to us.'"
  • -(AUDIENCE GASPING) -And just spare a thought there for the attorney who
  • went all they way through years of law school
  • only to have to tell a reporter,
  • "Don't worry the women we broadcast taking a shit
  • were probably all adults."
  • And Arpaio seemed routinely impervious
  • to criticism of any of his tactics.
  • I have not received many negative comments,
  • other than the, uh, Justice Department
  • or Amnesty International or the Civil Liberties Union.
  • -Yes, Joe... -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • but those are the three key groups who might criticize you
  • over mistreating prisoners.
  • So, you just went three-for-three on that one.
  • You're not going to get complaints from Carl's Jr.,
  • -the Girl Scouts, and Hootie and the Blowfish. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • That's not what those groups do.
  • So, is it frankly,
  • any wonder that when a reporter asked inmates,
  • whether Arpaio had any nicknames,
  • one responded "Hitler" while another responded "Hitler."
  • -And that-- -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • That is a charge that he's defended himself
  • against by saying,
  • "My daughter has adopted children of various ethnicities.
  • I got a black, a Mexican with Down syndrome even.
  • And yet I'm the racist, I'm the fascist,
  • I'm the Hitler."
  • And look, I'm not gonna argue with him on that one.
  • That is just sound logic right there.
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -That is why when you play the board game
  • "Guess Who's The Hitler,"
  • the first things you ask to narrow it down are,
  • "do their daughter got a black?
  • And "do their daughter got a Mexican with
  • with Down syndrome even?"
  • Because if their daughter got those,
  • they can't be the Hitler. It's right there in the rules.
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING, APPLAUDING) -And look, look...
  • Arpaio's jails weren't just tough and humiliating,
  • they were sometimes deadly.
  • Over the years, the county has paid out
  • multiple large settlements
  • to families of inmates who've died
  • following incidents in his facilities,
  • including over $8 million to the family of Scott Norberg,
  • who died in custody after being restrained, shot and beaten by guards.
  • And when one officer tried to warn two other guards
  • that the inmate was in dire trouble,
  • their response was chilling.
  • I told him that he was turning blue or purple,
  • and that he was breathing,
  • and he said, "who gives a fuck?"
  • ATTORNEY: After, uh, Speidel
  • responded to you, "Who gives a fuck,"
  • and you warned Officer Gurney, what did Mr. Gurney say?
  • They said just, "Who gives a shit?"
  • Look, you can't see someone dying
  • and say, "who gives a shit?"
  • You can't even see something dying and say that,
  • with of course the sole exception of orchids,
  • because really, who gives a shit?
  • They're-- they're high maintenance little flower cocks,
  • -and they all deserve to die. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • Now, now I should tell you the justice department
  • declined to prosecute that case
  • and both Arpaio and the offices insisted they did nothing wrong.
  • In fact, Arpaio was so unapologetic
  • that both officer "who gives a fuck"
  • and officer "who gives a shit" were later promoted,
  • presumably to lieutenant "whatever, asshole,"
  • and sergeant "zero fucks given."
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -And that promotion,
  • the problem is, that promotion sends a pretty clear message
  • to Arpaio's staff. Almost as clear a message
  • as a president pardoning the man who oversaw all of this.
  • And remember, Arpaio wasn't just in charge of jails.
  • He was also a law enforcement officer.
  • Though his respect for the law seemed awfully selective.
  • Now, over the years, his office repeatedly launched criminal cases
  • against his perceived enemies, be they county officials
  • or even judges,
  • some of which were so shockingly flimsy
  • they were dismissed or thrown out.
  • One civil suit that he brought turned out to be so baseless
  • it was actually cited in the disbarment
  • of the attorney who brought it,
  • with a member of the disbarment panel saying
  • it was "nothing short of fumbling with the law,
  • like children wielding a buzzing chainsaw."
  • Which is not only an amazing statement,
  • it's also actually my favorite Precious Moments figurine.
  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • And for America's toughest sheriff,
  • Arpaio seemed to let certain crimes
  • fall through the cracks.
  • In 2011, it came out that his department
  • had failed to properly investigate more than 400 sex-crimes,
  • some of which involved children.
  • And while Arpaio eventually admitted to that,
  • his apology left a lot to be desired.
  • If there were any victims out there,
  • I apologize, uh, to those victims,
  • if there were any.
  • -Hold on. If there were any? -(AUDIENCE GASPING)
  • There were, we know that.
  • That is a casual indifference to overlooking sex-crimes
  • so egregious, I am genuinely surprised that Penn State
  • -hasn't erected a statue of him. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • And amazingly, here's the amazing thing...
  • None of what you have just seen, not the conditions,
  • not the deaths, not the baseless charges against his critics
  • has anything to do with why he was convicted and needed a pardon.
  • That stems from racial profiling,
  • which his department has been repeatedly accused of
  • over the years. And one huge investigation
  • made some really troubling allegations.
  • REPORTER 9: A three-year investigation by the justice department
  • found what it called "unconstitutional policing,
  • and a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos
  • who are up to nine times more likely than whites
  • to be stopped by a Maricopa County deputy."
  • In one incident cited in the federal report,
  • a Hispanic driver was incarcerated for 13 days
  • before his citation was dismissed
  • for not using his turn signal."
  • Think about that.
  • Thirteen days for a turn signal infraction.
  • And that is in Arizona,
  • where an old person driving with their turn signal on
  • -is literally their state seal. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • And not surprisingly, in 2011, a lawsuit alleging
  • his department had a patent of racial profiling
  • resulted in this.
  • A federal court in Phoenix has decided Arizona authorities
  • cannot arrest people suspected of being illegal immigrants
  • solely because of their appearance.
  • WOMAN 2: If Arpaio does not comply with the court ruling,
  • Arpaio could ultimately be held in contempt of court
  • and face jail time.
  • You'll never guess what happened.
  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Arpaio did not comply with that court ruling.
  • In fact, over the next 18 months,
  • his office detained at least 171 people without charge
  • and turned them over to Immigration Enforcement.
  • And last July, a federal judge found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt.
  • And at that point, he was a criminal.
  • He had committed and was convicted of a crime,
  • you know, the thing that the people he puts in tents and pink underwear had done.
  • And which he felt meant that they had forfeited
  • any right to complain. He had done that.
  • And he hadn't even been sentenced
  • before Trump started hinting at a pardon,
  • for a frankly incredible reason.
  • Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?
  • -That's what... -(AUDIENCE CHEERING)
  • You know what? I'll make a prediction,
  • I think he's gonna be just fine, okay?
  • (CHEERING)
  • But here's the thing there.
  • He absolutely was not "just doing his job."
  • He was also doing something illegal.
  • You wouldn't say that John Wayne Gacy
  • was "just doing his job,"
  • even though he was by all accounts
  • -a pretty good birthday clown. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)
  • It's the stuff he was doing on top of that
  • that needed addressing.
  • And yet, and yet, I do not doubt
  • that Trump thinks that everything Joe Arpaio did
  • was or should be part of a law enforcement officer's job.
  • And that is the real problem here.
  • That is why this pardon is a slap in the face
  • to Latinos that Arpaio and his department
  • unconstitutionally targeted,
  • and that is why it's a slap in the face
  • to the very rule of law itself.
  • Because Arpaio broke the rules he was sworn to uphold.
  • Rules that are put in place to protect citizens
  • from a government going out of control.
  • And Trump giving him a pass
  • after everything that you have seen tonight
  • and saying he was "just doing his job"
  • is a loud confirmation that at least as far as this White House is concerned,
  • for the next few years
  • law enforcement won't necessarily be expected
  • to do their jobs the way the Constitution
  • or the courts say they should.
  • Instead, like Sheriff Joe Arpaio,
  • they should absolutely feel free to do their job...
  • um, what's the term?
  • ♪ My way ♪
  • -Yeah. -(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

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Description

Donald Trump issued his first presidential pardon to the last person who should get one. John Oliver discusses the troubling record of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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