In October of 2017, in an Arizona courthouse, the presidential pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was formally validated by District Judge Susan Bolton. Trump pardoned Arpaio only a few weeks before Arpaio would have been sentenced for his crimes.
The former sheriff was convicted for criminal contempt of court earlier that year after ignoring a federal judge’s order following a lawsuit in 2007. The lawsuit was related to Arpaio’s practice of racially profiling Latinos in search of illegal immigrants.
A Long-Standing Rivalry Between Arpaio and the Press
Judge Bolton’s validation of the pardon has put an abrupt close to the long battle against Arpaio’s atrocities. However, perhaps Arpaio’s greatest blunder was his attempt to silence the press. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
In 2007, he arrested the co-owners of the Phoenix New Times, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Recently, Lacey offered his own comments on the pardoning of Arpaio by Trump.
“This is the perfect marriage of two corrupt individuals,” Lacey said. He then went on to add a brief appraisal of Arpaio himself. “This is a sheriff who advertised torture and racism. God, look at the grim parade of corpses and mutilated bodies that came out of that jail of his.”
Larkin and Lacey Speak Out Against Arpaio
There were few people who provided as much of a pain in Arpaio’s side as Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. The pair spent years outing Arpaio’s injustices and covering his schemes in detail via the Phoenix New Times.
However, their determination to see Arpaio face justice didn’t exactly go over well with the former sheriff himself.
As the pair continued to report on Arpaio’s blatant disregard for both the law and human decency, Arpaio responded by simply banning them from his press conferences.
Later on, he even began outright ignoring requests by the paper for county records, and, eventually, he began threatening their reporters with arrest. However, the two journalists never thought that he’d follow through on those threats.
Larkin and Lacey Land Behind Arpaio’s Bars
Larkin and Lacey had underestimated Arpaio’s gall. After one too many exposures of Arpaio’s atrocities, he had the two journalists arrested in the dead of night, by plainclothes goons. They were stuffed into unmarked cars bearing Mexican plates and shuttled off to Arpaio’s cells.
The public, however, didn’t take this sitting down. They responded viciously to the arrests, calling for the release of Larkin and Lacey. Less than 24 hours after they were arrested, the pair were set free. Andrew Thomas, a strong ally of Arpaio, was forced to announce that the case had been closed and that the arrests were improper.
Shortly after the incident, Larkin and Lacey opted to sue the county. After several years of legal wrangling, the pair settled for a sum of $3.75 million.
Using those funds, they created the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, which acts as a provider of grants to migrant-rights organizations in the state of Arizona. Despite Arpaio’s pardon, they continue to fight against his atrocities, and won’t stop until he’s behind the same bars they were shuttled to over a decade ago.