Phoenix New Times and Village Media Voice co-founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin understand all too well how being in the cross-hairs of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio can be dangerous.
The self-anointed “Toughest sheriff in America” has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Maricopa County for 24 years. Many believed that the controversial figure would finally get his comeuppance after his July 2017 criminal contempt conviction.
Many were praying that the good sheriff would spend some time inside his own notorious “tent city” and exists in 120 degree temperatures, be forced to wear pink underwear, eat green bologna and all the other indignities faced by the inmates who actually stayed there.
Sadly, that day would never come thanks to Donald Trump. One of his first orders of business after winning his election as President of the United States was to pardon the 85-year-old former sheriff. While many were outraged, it wasn’t a big shock. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
After all, while Trump was driving the “birther” bus, Arpaio was riding shotgun. The insidious lie to defame the President Barack Obama was being pushed by two of the most vile human beings to ever walk the earth.
Arpaio had gotten away with a lot over the years. Mostly with the help of his henchmen at the prosecuting attorney’s office. Arpaio was anti-immigration and made no bones about it.
Larkin and Lacey saw what was going on. And since no one else had the balls to confront Arpaio, they decided to take on the cause.
the duo often penned articles in their newspaper criticizing Arpaio for everything from the unexplained deaths inside prison walls, beatings, civil rights violations and much more. Arpaio hated Hispanics.
In his mind, any person with a Latino background was illegal. As the stories began to pile up, more light was shone on Maricopa County Jail.
Larkin and Lacey wrote a giant expose on Arpaio, including recently divulged information that Arpaio’s minions at the prosecutor’s offer were going to issue subpoenas to anyone who read the paper.
Now, the sheriff was mad. And what he did less will go down in the annals of history as one of the most egregious civil rights violation ever.
Both Larkin and Lacey were absconded from their homes in the dead of night, forced into separate black vans and taken to jail.
When the smoke cleared, the men were awarded $3.4 million as part of a civil rights lawsuit. But not even that stopped Arpaio from his harassment and racial profiling.
In 2011, U.S. District Judge G Murray Snow issued an injunction against Arpaio and the Maricopa County Jail banning racial profiling in traffic stops. He ignored the ruling. This is what led to his criminal contempt conviction.
The one good thing that came out of it is the money Larkin and Lacey won went to the Frontera Fund. It’s a non-profit that helps with Hispanic causes.
Both men are still putting up the good fight. In the meantime, Arpaio just won’t go away. He’s planning to run for the senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake.