It can be argued that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is extremely tenacious. Though he found himself in a tough spot, he used his political connections to weasel out of answering for his crimes yet again. Phoenix New Times creators Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin know the former Sheriff well and his ability to get away with, yet another crime does not surprise them.
In fact, Lacey believes that Arpaio foresaw the end of his reign over Maricopa County and he took great pains to be sure that there was a safety net in place for him should he be charged.
The Phoenix New Times published an article on their website entitled “The Enduring Sins of Joe Arpaio: newspaperman Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin Speak out in Response to Donald Trump’s Pardon of America’s Worst Sheriff” that discusses Arpaio’s dealings as well as their own personal run-in with him.
The thing is, Arpaio was charged with contempt after he failed to meet the terms of a court ruling against him that required him to report to a court supervisor and make some serious changes to the police department’s business practices. Arpaio had been targeting people of the immigrant population and those citizens of the United States that he believed were illegal immigrants.
He made these assumptions based on the way that they looked and harassed many unduly. This led to a class-action lawsuit, which Maricopa County lost to the tune of $70 million. It was later found that Arpaio did not adhere to the terms of the lawsuit.
Pres. Donald Trump stepped in and prevented Arpaio from going to prison, a move that did not surprise Lacey in the least. Lacey and Larkin have had their share of dealings with the former Sheriff. Not only had he been engaged in corruption for years, but he also arrested the two journalists in their homes in 2007. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/ and https://michael-lacey.com/
This was because of an investigation that the Phoenix New Times was conducting into Arpaio’s landholdings. Throughout the course of publishing, Arpaio’s address was printed online and Arpaio’s office issued a subpoena to the media group. Larkin and Lacey took to their newspaper to discuss the overly broad subpoena, for which they were later arrested.
In this case, Arpaio had overreached his power and the two men were released very quickly. Not only had the public gotten upset over the arrest, but a judge agreed that Larkin and Lacey were jailed in direct violation of their human rights and awarded them $3.75 million for their suffering.
Instead of using the money for something personal or trivial, the men decided to funnel it into something that mattered.
With this money, they created the Larkin and Lacey Frontera fund which would help fund programs for the migrant population in Arizona. The fund is also paired with other like-minded organizations to help increase the visibility of these people.
While Arpaio is no longer Sheriff, there are still obstacles that immigrants in the United States face. These programs are geared towards helping them.