Sheriff Joe Arpaio was just recently pardoned by President Trump. In spite of the fact that the sheriff had been found guilty of federal contempt of court charges, Trump felt it appropriate to exonerate the lawman, ensuring that he would not face any consequences.
Sheriff Arpaio who is the self-proclaimed ‘toughest sheriff in America,” served 24 consecutive years in office in Maricopa County, Arizona. His record came to an end in 2016, when he lost the election. Arpaio served as the head lawman all those years, in spite of many complaints about racial profiling and unfair practices. Arpaio and his men were well-known for years of intimidation and mistreatment.
One famous incident that brought Maricopa County into the national spotlight was the case of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. These two men are successful businessman and activists. They jointly own the Village Voice Media which publishes such papers as the Phoenix Sun. The media group has long been recognized as a thorn in the side of Arpaio. Reporting on specific racial profiling cases, the Sun made sure that people knew.
When Lacey and Larkin found out that a grand jury had been called to investigate the media group, papers, editors, and subscribers, they boldly chose to report what they had discovered. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/ and https://michael-lacey.com/
As a result of the reporting, Lacey and Larkin were summarily arrested at their respective homes on October 18th, 2007. After being roused from their homes, the men were put in unmarked police cars and placed in separate jails with unspecified charges. When a network of supporters discovered the arrests, they demanded release and the men spent only one night in jail.
The 2007 incident led to a now-famous court case that dragged out all the way to the 9th Court of Appeals, which ultimately ruled that the arrests of Lacey and Larkin were unconstitutional and without any probable cause. The two men received a judgment of $3.7 million dollars from Maricopa County in 2012.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey took most of this money and began the Frontera Fund, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Hispanics, Latinos and other minorities. The men are determined to fight against unfair treatment and to advocate for the education of these groups about our justice system.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Joe Arpaio continued to follow unlawful and inhuman practices, even after the 2007 incident with Lacey and Larkin. He was charged with unfair racial profiling and instructed to cease this practice.
Arpaio, however, not only continued to target minorities, he instructed his officers to do the same. Eventually, he was convicted of contempt of court by Federal Judge, Susan Bolton for defying the court’s order.
Arpaio has been a long time supporter of Trump, being one of the loudest voices joining Trump when the “Birther” issue came up about then President Obama.
Arpaio openly campaigned for Trump and his loyalty was ultimately rewarded when President Trump pardoned him on all charges. Still, we must feel better when we see men like Jim Larkin and Micheal Lacey who continue to fight for what’s right.