Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton on Wednesday asked Donald Trump not to pardon controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio during the president's scheduled visit to the city next Tuesday arguing that it would cause further division in a time of mourning after the violence in Charlottesville.
In a statement Stanton said he was "disappointed" that the president had scheduled a campaign rally in his city "as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville," and asked him to delay the event.
"If President Trump is coming to Phoenix to announce a pardon for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio then it will be clear that his true intent is to enflame emotions and further divide our nation," he added.
Stanton, who has been in office since 2012, said he hopes "sound judgment prevails."
Trump's re-election campaign announced last week that the president would hold the event for supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Trump has hinted several times over the past few days that he is considering a pardon for Arpaio, 85, an anti-immigrant hawk who was convicted in late July of criminal contempt after he defied a judge's 2011 court order to refrain from racially profiling Latinos during patrols.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the president said Sunday, during a conversation with Fox News at his club in Bedminster, N.J. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot and I hate to see what has happened to him.”
During the trial prosecutors argued that Arpaio intentionally violated the court order to stop his officers from detaining people simply on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally. As a result of the police tactics, some Latinos who were citizens or legal residents were wrongly detained.