As the dog died, Arpaio's deputies laughed.
In the wake of Joe Arpaio’s recent pardon by President Donald Trump, former Ethics Director Walter Shaub shared a horrifying story on Twitter to reiterate the poor decision to grant Arpaio’s pardon. Shaub served under the Obama Administration beginning in 2013 and then served for a time under the Trump Administration until July 2017 when he resigned, citing the need for tighter ethics rules.
In case you aren’t sure who Joe Arpaio is, he’s the former Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona and held that position for 23 years until he lost during re-election in 2016. Calling himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” he took an outspoken stance against illegal immigration and turned to profiling against people that even appeared Latin American. This included pulling over people in order to ask for papers as proof of their citizenship, rounding up people in predominantly Latin American neighborhoods, and holding people without “reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed.”
The abuse of his power also extended to the jail system, which utilized outside tents in a formation called “Tent City,” which Arpaio himself called a concentration camp, where he placed inmates outside in tents despite the horrible heat. He established the tent system outside of the Maricopa County Jail in 1993 and is still in use today. At one point in July of 2011, Arpaio measured the temperature inside the tents and it came out to a high of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Inmates were complaining that their fans were not working and that their shoes were melting from the heat, but Arpaio ignored them.
In addition to these horrible conditions in the jail, he was the Sheriff during a period of years when the department ignored or mishandled hundreds of sexual assault cases, one which involved the continued abuse of a 13-year-old girl by her uncle. He was accused of violating election law, misusing funds, staging an assassination plot against himself, and creating and nurturing a cruel environment amongst deputies, which leads to the story shared by Shaub.
National Dog Day was this past weekend on August 26th and was celebrated by many with photos of family dogs that have brought joy into the lives of humans. Shaub shared the horrifying story of one such precious dog who lost his life at the hands of Arpaio’s deputies in the tweet below.
For Nat'l Dog Day let's remember the time JoeArpaio's Deputies set a puppy on fire, laughing at its sobbing owner as it died a ghastly death pic.twitter.com/4bGuwUIR9u
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 26, 2017
The excerpt in the tweet is from a story published shortly after the incident occurred in 2004, in which a neighbor and those who were victims of this display of cruelty recounted what happened. According to the neighbor, a SWAT team rolled up in an unprofessional manner, put on their gear in front of their house, and began firing tear gas grenades into the unsuspecting homes. When the neighbor called 911 because the lack of insignia on any vehicles or uniforms caused him to think this was a gang attacking the home, he was told that the officers were simply serving a search warrant.
The barrage of tear gas canisters is thought to have caused the fire that ultimately destroyed the whole house, though the SWAT team maintains that a lighted candle upstairs must have fallen over in the “confusion.” As the family ran out of the house following the eruption of the fire, the 10-month-old pit bull puppy followed them, and that’s when a member of the SWAT team pushed the puppy back inside and the dog met a horrifying death.
It’s a story that is likely to deeply anger and sadden any reader, but for the family that the dog belonged to, this moment was pure agony. They heard the dog’s screams and cried as they attempted to save him, but the SWAT team wouldn’t let them return to the house. What’s worse is that the SWAT team laughed at the family as they mourned for their puppy.
The SWAT team had arrived to serve a search warrant for an alleged stockpile of illegal guns and armor-piercing bullets, and all they found were two guns that were both registered and legal.
According to the neighbor, the team then left the crime scene there untouched for five days, including the body of the dog they essentially killed, and it served as a reminder of the horrible incident that occurred at their hands. This is strongly related to Arpaio and his antics because of the horrible actions he allowed and the cruel environment he fostered, who Trump recently pardoned for not following the court order to stop racial profiling. America’s “toughest Sheriff” is both purposefully and inadvertently the cause of so much cruelty and suffering.