Nicknamed America’s worst sheriff, the enduring sins and abuse of power by Sheriff Joe Arpaio can hardly be compared to that of any other sheriff in the known history of the United States. His 24 years reign was punctuated by human rights abuse, racial profiling, and corruption. This is a man whose rightful abode is behind the bars that he savagely kept his victim, but was unbelievably pardoned by President Donald Trump. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
In July 2017, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for willfully ignoring an order from a federal judge arising from a 2007 racial-profiling lawsuit. Just weeks before he was to be sentenced, President Trump, a long time ally, offered the corrupt sheriff pardon, which was later validated by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton. This brought to an end the latest chapter in the Arpaio long-running saga.
One of the most notable atrocities perpetrated by the sheriff was the arrest and detention of the former co-owners of Phoenix New Times; Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The pair had been a serious thorn in the side of the sheriff, constantly criticizing and revealing atrocities carried out by him.
In an interview, Lacey described Trump as being a moron for pardoning Arpaio. He described the relationship between the two men as a marriage of two corrupt individuals. He attributes the fault to the failure of the justice system, that charged Arpaio for contempt of court because he flaunted a judge’s instruction instead of him being charged for the death, torturing and abuse of prisoners in his custody. Lacey described Arpaio’s regime as a stunning trail of evil.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have firsthand knowledge of Joe Arpaio’s atrocities, as they have constantly spoken against his terror regime, an act which landed them in handcuffs in October of 2007. The pair has always had radicalism in their spirit and has constantly spoken against discrimination.
The two Arizona State University dropouts began their career after the 1970 Kent State killings. Through their determination and doggedness, they were able to take the paper from a campus paper to coast-coast chain with 17 publications at its height. Larkin was CEO while Lacey was the executive editor.
In the interview, Lacey had gone on to highlight some of the barbarities that plagued the sheriff’s regime, a full accounting of which can fill a small library. Some of these included the savage beating of disobedient inmates, shackling of expectant mothers, brutal jail conditions, and the establishment of a tent city which the sheriff called his concentration camp.
Others included the diversion of more $100 million in jail funds, sex crimes, inmates suicides (which Lacey and Larkin revealed to be the highest in the country) and the harassment of Latinos; which gave rise to the criminal conviction of Arpaio.
Starting in 2007, Arpaio had ordered his deputies and posses to gather Latinos to inquire if they are in the country illegally and should be deported. This led to Melendres v. Arpaio.
All of these were reported by the duo and it led to their arrest on the 18th of October, 2007. The incident in particular that irked Arpaio the most was their publication of John Dougherty’s column where he revealed that Arpaio and his wife owned several parcels of commercial real estate valued at around $700,000.
The outrage that followed the arrest of the newspapermen forced the hand of Andrew Thomas, Maricopa County county attorney to declare the arrest improper and to have the case closed. The newspapermen sued. In 2013, they were awarded a $3.75 million settlement. The Melendres v. Arpaio settlement cost the county a whopping $70 million to date.
Lacey and Larkin had used their settlement money to form the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, which supports migrant-rights organizations throughout Arizona.
Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: