One of the most heinous acts in history was the wrongful imprisonment of Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The story actually began in the middle of the night a little over ten years ago.
Agents from the Selective Enforcement Unit in Maricopa County followed the orders of Joe Arpaio and removed Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin from their homes. They were charged with failing to disclose details regarding an investigation of the grand jury.
Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin were a major part of the Village Voice Media newspaper. Joe Arpaio had become frustrated with the coverage concerning the tactics he used for law enforcement. He was inaugurated in 1992 and committed numerous atrocities against inmates, women and immigrants.
He was warned by a judge in 2011 he could not detain immigrants due to suspicion alone. This was a breach of the constitutional law. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: https://gazetteday.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-still-defending-latino-rights-in-aftermath-of-joe-arpaios-pardon/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
Joe Arpaio ignored the warnings and eventually a lawsuit was filed against him. He still continued his racial profiling of immigrants and Latinos. Everything changed when reporters became aware of his actions.
This was when Joe Arpaio’s actions were exposed to the public by Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin. The stories they printed led to their arrest. The ensuing scandal increased when more newspapers began writing stories about the sheriff.
Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin had to spend 24 days in prison before being released. They then filed a lawsuit against the sheriff using information regarding his corruption and malpractice. When the case settled the men were awarded $3.7 million. Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin used the settlement to create the Frontera Fund.
This was how they kept their word when they swore they would protect the Latino community. The Frontera Fund protects the First Amendment rights of Latinos and additional members of society. They fight against Joe Arpaio’s rhetoric while protecting the individuals he attempted to discredit and detain simply due to their race.
Joe Arpaio was charged with contempt in July of 2017. His experience as a politician enabled him to receive support from the Trump administration. He endorsed Trump for President. This led to the former sheriff being pardoned by Donald Trump so he never went to prison.
The speculation is Trump believed providing Arpaio with a pardon would appeal to his voter base and work favorably in a political sense.
While Joe Arpaio was a sheriff in Arizona the Latino community was being undermined. Arpaio’s racist policies were supported by the police officers acting as his mouthpiece. The victims and the Latinos were facing a difficult uphill battle while Arpaio was surrounded with supporters.
President Trump’s pardon is now official. There is no way to predict what actions will be taken by Joe Arpaio or where the crusade he started will lead. A lot more people are aware of what he has done so there is hope anyone supporting his agenda can be stopped permanently.