One of the most controversial and unusual pardons in United States history occured when President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County. One of his most heinous acts was wrongfully imprisoning Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin.
These men owned the Village Voice. Ten years have passed since the Selective Maricopa Enforcement Unit was ordered by Joe Arpaio to arrest Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin.
This occurred at night when the men were taken from their homes in Phoenix, Arizona and imprisoned. The charges stated they would not release information pertaining to an investigation by the grand jury.
Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin were involved with the newspaper the Village Voice Media as the CEO and Executive Editor. They had published an article the same day regarding a grand jury probe of the Phoenix New Times.
They were unaware they were under investigation due to the frustrations of Joe Arpaio. The men had written about his orders against inmates, women and especially immigrants. Joe Arpaio had been informed what was and was not legally admissible numerous times.
In 2011 United States District Judge Murray Snow told him he could not detain immigrants unless he had evidence. Eventually a lawsuit was filed against the sheriff leading to charges of violating the rights of immigrant groups including Latinos. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
Joe Arpaio ignored the charges and continued with his racial profiling. This continued for several years until reporters became aware of the situation. This was when Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin began writing about the sheriffs misdeeds.
As other newspapers finally began covering the story it began receiving national coverage. The men filed a lawsuit against Joe Arpaio after spending 24 days in prison. They received a settlement for $3.7 million. Joe Arpaio lost the election for Sheriff and was charged with contempt.
He then endorsed Trump’s campaign and Trump hinted he would be pardoned in a campaign speech. Trump pandered to the voters who viewed Joe Arpaio as a hero and the belief was Trump thought pardoning him would work in his favor. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/
Joe Arpaio undermined the Latino community while he was sheriff. His policies were racist and his victims had a difficult time opposing these policies. Joe Arpaio’s supporters came to his aid and defended his actions as being necessary to eliminate the illegal immigrants.
National and regional human rights movements began responding to the many cases left by Joe Arpaio. They provided protection and help for the Latino community.
One of the largest organizations is run by Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin. These men took the money they received from their settlement and created the Frontera Fund. This organization was established to protect the First Amendment rights of the members of society including Latinos.
The efforts of the Frontera Fund have resulted in a fight against the rhetoric of Joe Arpaio. This has made it extremely difficult for him to discredit his opposition. Once Joe Arpaio was charged in 2017 with criminal contempt the push opposing his rhetoric became even stronger.