The pardoning of former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio has been greeted with a lot of disdain in the civil rights circles and by the media fraternity in Arizona and outside the state’s boundaries.
The matters concerning the former sheriff returned into the limelight, after a judge validated President’s Donald Trump’s previous pardon. According to the Phoenix New Times report published on November 2017, US District Judge Susan Bolton pardoned Joe Arpaio following his conviction for criminal contempt, in a case where he was accused of ignoring Federal Judge’s orders concerning a racial profiling lawsuit filed in 2007.
Civil rights activists all across the state were perturbed by the development, which came just a few weeks before the former sheriff was to receive sentence. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey
It should be remembered that 10 years ago, Arpaio was accused of arresting Jim Larkin and Michel Lacey, the former co-owners of the Phoenix New Times. The arrest in October 2017 ignited immediate condemnation from people across the political divide. The story appeared in several national media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.
Larkin and Lacey were paid a settlement of $3.7 million by the board of supervisors following an admission of guilt by the Maricopa County attorney general and a staunch Arpaio ally, Mr. Andrew Thomas. The vowed to continue revealing scandalous activities permeated the sheriff’s during his 24 year reign. Lacey accused Joe Arpaio of corruption in high office, adding that the sheriff oversaw worst cases of torture and racism.
The accusations included poor treatment of inmates, inmate suicides, beatings, sex crimes, harassment of Latinos and diversion of jail funds amounting over $100 million. Arpaio was elected in 1992 after retiring from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Although his reform credentials earned him the title “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, his tenure will, however, be remembered as one of the most atrocious.
The most memorable wrongful deaths attributed to the sheriff include that of a diabetic woman who slipped into coma after she was denied medications and the death of a mentally ill Army veteran. During his reign, Arpaio consistently banned New Times journalists from his press briefings and threatened to arrest them for highlighting the ills that bedeviled his leadership.
Michael Lacey is a son of a construction laborer. He came to Arizona in 1960 to study at Arizona State University before dropping out in 1970. Two years later, he teamed up with Jim Larkin to established Phoenix New Times. Lacey served as the CEO while Larkin took up the position of Executive Directors at Village voice Media.
The journalists decided to sell the media house to the Voice Media Group in 2013. The push to support the right of Latinos and other immigrants saw the newsmen establish the the Frontera Fund.
According to an excerpt on Releasefact.com, Frontera Fund and other like-minded groups have pointed out that they will continue to fight against the former sheriff and his policies in spite of the pardon from the President and District Judge Susan Bolton.