We live in trying times, there are so many different things going on nationally. One major figure in the news right now is former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The reason Arpaio has gained so much attention is because of his brutal and intolerant actions as sheriff of Maricopa County.
A recent article published on the Phoenix New Times’ website discusses a controversial pardon that Arpaio received just weeks after sentencing and the reaction of co-creators Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
The article, entitled “The Enduring Sins of Joe Arpaio: Newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin Speak Out in Response to Donald Trump’s Pardon of America’s Worst Sheriff”, is a great read for anyone that is not familiar with Arpaio’s work.
The reason that Arpaio needed a pardon in the first place was that he was in contempt of court. In 2007, there was a landmark class-action lawsuit against Arpaio because of some stereotyping that he had ordered his department to engage in to increase deportation.
This resulted in the harassment of many US citizens and led to the lawsuit. People were being stopped for flimsy reasons and held up because of the way they looked.
Arpaio was ordered to cease this practice immediately and report to a court supervisor that way the judge could be sure that he was adhering to the parameters of the ruling. Arpaio did not fulfill his end of the agreement and he was convicted of contempt. Pres. Donald Trump stepped in and issued a pardon for Arpaio, ensuring he would never see a day in prison. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Facebook
Arpaio had his own run-in with Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey in October of 2007 when they were ripped from their homes in the middle of the night because of something that was published in their paper. Arpaio believed that he finally had Larkin and Lacey after years of the Phoenix New Times covering his obscene corruption. He was wrong and was slapped with a lawsuit which Larkin and Lacey won.
Arpaio had violated their human rights, something a judge did not take lightly. The public was also outraged by Arpaio’s actions. Larkin and Lacey won a settlement of $3.75 million which they use to set up a fund to benefit the migrant population of Arizona. The fund still exists today, helping to support these people.
When Larkin and Lacey set up their Frontera fund, they wanted to support the most socially conscious programs they could think of geared towards immigrants. Because of Larkin and Lacey’s support of these programs they have been able to expand and accept more people.
These programs have been doing wonderful work by offering job training, shelter, and legal classes so that immigrants understand their rights. Larkin and Lacey knew that they needed to equip the next generation of immigrants, because regardless of their legal status they are people and deserve to be treated as such. So, while Arpaio may go free for his crimes, he leaves behind a legacy that is tarnished with bigotry and deceit.