There is a recent article featured on PhoenixNewTimes.com which discusses the ongoing saga of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In recent years the former Sheriff has been quite a polarizing figure in the media. The article, entitled “The Enduring Sins of Joe Arpaio: Newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin Speak Out in Response to Donald Trump’s Pardon of America’s Worst Sheriff”, discusses some of the backlash associated with a recent pardon that he received from Pres. Donald Trump.
Many people were shocked at the president’s decision to pardon Arpaio because of his many crimes. Phoenix new Times creators Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were not one of them. They had spent years dealing with the corrupt Sheriff, and they knew that he would find a way to weasel out of his sentence.
The recent decision by US District Judge Susan Bolton to formally validate the pardon has created quite an uproar. Arpaio originally wanted to bill himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, but he only succeeded in creating a legacy as the worst. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
In fact, Lacey and Larkin spent much of their career with the Phoenix new Times covering the exploits of Arpaio. From his famous tent cities, his failed solution to prison overcrowding, to his blatant stereotyping, Arpaio had made quite a name for himself. When a Phoenix new Times journalist discovered that Arpaio possessed a large amount of land valued at over $700,000, they found that to be quite suspicious.
Throughout the course of their investigation, Arpaio’s address was published online, which is considered a crime. Arpaio used this misstep as an excuse to issue a subpoena to Larkin and Lacey that was overly broad. Larkin and Lacey were also issued information on their grand jury hearing which they immediately shared with their readers. This gave Arpaio the ammo he needed to arrest the two men.
Larkin and Lacey were not in custody for long, there was a huge outcry around their arrest. People were not happy that Larkin and Lacey’s rights were clearly being violated. The county attorney had to step in and release the men. As soon as they were released, Larkin and Lacey turned around and sued the Maricopa County Police Department. They received a settlement of $3.75 million and they had big plans for it.
The whole reason that Arpaio needed a pardon was that he had not adhered to the parameters of a previous court ruling. He was in contempt of court. The case, Melendres V. Arpaio, was a landmark case pushing against the blatant racism and stereotyping prevalent in the Maricopa County Police Department. After losing the case, Arpaio was ordered to report to a court monitor and adjust the practices of the police department, he did not comply.
While the pardon is disappointing, Larkin and Lacey are starting to look towards the future. They used the money that they received to set up the Larkin and Lacey Frontera fund. This fund is geared towards helping individuals of the immigrant population of Arizona. While former Sheriff Arpaio has done everything in his power to tear this population down, Larkin and Lacey are trying to build them up.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: