The Presidential pardon for the former Maricopa County Sheriff was a shock for many, especially the people who faced his tortures. Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to be convicted of criminal contempt in July 2017 for not obeying the instructions of the racial-profiling lawsuit.
He was waiting for sentence and a possible jail term, but the Presidential pardon changed his fate. Interestingly, the case was validated by the Susan R. Bolton, the District Judge, in October 2017, and that showed the signs of a case that was running for almost ten years. It started with the arrests of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, two newspapermen from Arizona, in 2007.
The news reporters were relentlessly covering the abuses and misdeeds of Arpaio in their publication, Phoenix New Times. The coverage became critical and took him to court and stand convicted. Recently, Lacey spoke his mind about the Presidential pardon for the Sheriff.
He said that President Trump is a stupid person, and the pardon of Arpaio showed the same. Lacey continued that it looked like a perfect marriage between two individuals who are corrupt.
The sheriff was propagating racism and torture, and his jails filled with corpses. Arpaio created brutal jail conditions, and he made a tent city prison which he called a concentration camp. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
He further added that the Sheriff Arpaio was notorious for suicides of inmates, beating them to death, diversion of $100 million jail funds, and more. The jails of Arpaio also saw numerous sex crimes – a significant number of them were targeting children.
The racial profiling towards Latinos resulted in the lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio. Lacey feels that Arpaio’s escape from the term showed the failure of the justice system. The case only ended up as a contempt of court, and it did not cover the inmate deaths or tortures executed by the sheriff.
Additionally, he and Larkin recited their arrests in October 2007 by the security forces of the sheriff. Larkin and Lacey were founding Village Voice Media almost four decades back immediately after their college education. While Larkin was the group’s CEO, Lacey assumed the role of the executive editor of the group publications. The media group had 17 publications at its height, and Phoenix New Times was one among them.
Both the reporters covered a large number of atrocities committed by the sheriff and his security forces including wrongful deaths, misuse of authority, unconstitutional actions, and more from 1992 – the year Arpaio took office for the first time.
Arpaio started targeting the newspaper since it started covering his office extensively. He banned the New Times reporters from his conferences, threatened the reporters of newspaper with arrest, not providing the county records requested by the group, and more.
Larkin confirmed that Arpaio felt like they were a constant thorn in his way, and due to that reason, both of them got arrested.
They were pulled from their homes at midnight and put behind bars by the security forces of Arpaio. But, the immediate reaction of American civil society made Arpaio release them without charges within 24 hours.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: