PHOENIX – President Donald Trump spared former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio the prospect of serving jail time in granting the first pardon of his turbulent tenure.
Trump's move also wiped out the lawman's recent federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols that focused on Latinos.
The White House said 85-year-old Arpaio was a "worthy candidate" for the pardon, citing his "life's work of protecting the public from the scourges of crime and illegal immigration." Trump granted the pardon less than a month after a judge found Arpaio guilty of a misdemeanor contempt-of-court charge.
The pardon drew a swift and harsh denunciation from an array of Latinos and political leaders, who said it amounted to presidential approval of racism.
Superville reported from Washington. Associated Press reporters Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report. Follow Jacques Billeaud at twitter.com/jacquesbilleaud and Darlene Superville at twitter.com/dsupervillap.