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

October 3, 2019


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’sMy 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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  1. It's a shame doing it his way didn't include singing in actual tune. It looks like his prisoners aren't the only people he wanted to torture.
    This is like a real life version of the Zimbardo Stanford jail experiment.

  2. I first remember Arpaio for when back in 2005 when he tried to destroy NASCAR driver Kurt Busch's career for running a stop sign

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