Longtime foes of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are speaking out about the pardon granted to him by President Donald Trump. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, executives with the Village Voice, say they are not surprised that Trump stepped in to save Arpaio from serving a prison sentence.
Arpaio was indicted for criminal contempt in July of 07, when he defied a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio was due to be sentenced in a few weeks. Judge Susan Bolton’s validation of the Arpaio’s pardon has ended a decade-long saga, which included one of the most brazen examples of Second Amendment Rights violation in history.
Larkin and Lacey, also co-owners of the Phoenix New Times penned a number of articles over the years regarding Arpaio’s questionable conduct during his 24 years in office. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
On the evening of Oct. 18, 2007, several members of the sheriff’s goon squad showed up at Larkin and Lacey’s homes and led them away in handcuffs.
Both men would eventually have the last laugh.
“What has happened here with Arpaio is a typical example of the justice system gone awry. Instead of serving time behind bars, he is not being held accountable for the people who were killed inside his jails, the tortures and rights violations of numerous people,” said Larkin.
Arpaio’s track record is a vulgar as it is long. Lacey quickly recounted some of the former sheriff’s most disgusting lowlights: beating deaths, tortures, suffocation in restraint chairs, chaining pregnant inmates to beds while giving birth, inmate suicides, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Arpaio’s actions were brazen. At a certain point, it became apparent that he could do whatever he wanted with little or no backlash. But Larkin and Lacey were not going to let Arpaio off the hook. So, they continued to write about him. Learn more about James Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://michael-lacey.com/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
After the arrests, the tsunami of outraged that followed proved to be too much for Arpaio to bear. Once the arrest made national news, the duo were released and the trumped-up charges dropped. In 2013, Larkin and Lacey were awarded $3.2 million in damages. However, the Melendres v. Maricopa County lawsuit costs the taxpayers $70 million.
While the sheriff failed to serve prison time, many residents felt it was time for Arpaio to hang up his hat. He lost his last reelection bid in 2016.
But the irony of it all is that Arpaio didn’t start his career in 1992 off as a hard nut that seemingly hated immigrants. In fact, when the attorney general refused to prosecute self-described vigilante Patrick Haab for holding a group of undocumented men at gunpoint, Arpaio was livid. It was only after Republicans lined up with Haab did Arpaio line up with them.
Larkin and Lacey have used their settlement to do good. They have opened the Fontera Fund to help further causes of Latino citizens.