The legacy left behind by the former sheriff of Maricopa Country, Joe Arpaio, can only be described as corrupt and selfish. The former sheriff quickly earned a reputation for his terrible tent cities that he used as a solution to prison overcrowding. Arpaio has even been caught referencing the facility as his own type of ‘concentration camp’.
Thankfully, as of 2017, that facility is no longer in operation. However, people under his care as sheriff suffered more abuse, malnourishment, and mental problems than ever before. He used his position to gain political power and divert prison funds for his own personal causes.
The article, “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” published on phenioxnewtimes.com discusses the corruption of Arpaio as well as his own run-ins with the law.
Phoenix New Times creators Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have been longtime critics of the former sheriff, publishing pieces on his department from the beginning. This article is simply a brief timeline of the sins of Arpaio.
The reason that Arpaio needed a pardon was that he was charged with contempt of court. In 2007, Arpaio was sued with the landmark racial profiling class action lawsuit, Melendres V. Arpaio. Melendres alleged that Arpaio and his police department were engaged in racial profiling to increase deportation.
They were stopping individuals for phony reasons to check ids. Citizens would be harassed and held up simply because of the way that they looked. Arpaio has held an anti-immigrant platform throughout much of his career, but his actions were violating the rights of citizens.
He was found guilty of the practices and ordered to report to a court monitor and change the practices of the department. Those named in the lawsuit received an award of 70 million for their suffering.
2007 was also the year that Arpaio has his run-in with Larkin and Lacey. In the midst of reporting one of Arpaio’s shady land deals, his address was published online. Arpaio used this as an excuse to issue an overly broad subpoena and a summons to a grand jury proceeding. When Larkin and Lacey published an article questioning the documents, Arpaio used it as an excuse to arrest the men in their homes. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
This violation quickly riled up the public, and they were released very soon afterward. In light of those events, Larkin and Lacey also sued the police department.
They received 3.75 million dollars which they funneled into a fund aimed at helping the migrant population of Arizona. Arpaio had created a powerful enemy with Larkin and Lacey from the moment that he started to engage in corrupt practices while in office. It was only natural that they would want to band together with others who had dealt with Arpaio as well.
Today, the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund is a beacon for the migrants of Arizona and supports countless programs. Naturally, Larkin and Lacey are outraged by the pardon, but they continue their good work in spite of the failure in the justice system.