The Worst Sheriff of America and the Struggles of Two Journalists

Joe Arpaio is a much-discussed name in the United States especially in the recent years considering his involvement in various racial profiling, tortures, and abuses to various classes as the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Recently, he narrowly escaped from a prison term with a Presidential pardon for his notorious acts while he was assuming the office.

Interestingly, Arpaio was known for breaching every right of the individuals, and he even dared to disrespect the First Amendment rights of critics as well as opponents. This is what happened to two reputed journalists from Phoenix, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.

Both were detained by the Selective Enforcement Unit of Arpaio in 2007 as they wrote about a confidential grand-jury investigation in their newspapers.

Those years, Lacey was holding the role of an executive director at the newspaper chain, Village Voice Media, and Larkin was the institution’s CEO. They published the story of the investigation in Phoenix New Times, a newspaper for Phoenix from Village Voice Media.

Though the incident was the reason for the instant provocation of the Sheriff, he was eyeing on both the reporters as they were continuously covering the corruption, abuses, and rights violations of the Sheriff and his office since Arpaio assumed the office in 1992.

The reporters covered all the major misdeeds of the Sheriff including detainee deaths in the county prisons due to torture, shackling pregnant women even during their delivery, and extra-judicial campaigning against his opponents in politics. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Twitter

However, the most highlighted incidents that paved ways for his downfall are none other than the tortures towards the Latinos in Maricopa County and his vendetta towards the news reporters. The former caused the downfall of the Sheriff in the form of the renowned federal civil-rights lawsuit named Melendres v. Arpaio.

Similarly, the arrest of the journalists created instant public outcry across the nation, and Arpaio could not hold them behind bars more than 24 hours. The detention was reported as a breach towards the First Amendment rights of Larkin and Lacey, and the incident led to a long legal battle.

After five years, the court ordered the county to pay $3.75 million as the settlement to both the journalists due to the wrongful arrests. The compensation paved ways for a nonprofit group as the reporters decided to form Frontera Fund with the money. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phillypurge.com/2017/06/23/jim-larkin-michael-lacey-make-the-list-of-civil-rights-protectors/

The group is working on easing the struggles of immigrants in Arizona by providing them the support, legal assistance, financial aid, raising campaigns for them, and more.

Time turned towards Arpaio to make him pay for misdeeds as he lost his seventh bid for Maricopa County in November 2016. In late 2017, he was declared as contempt of court based on the Melendres suit. This eventually opened doors for him to prison, but the Presidential pardon has helped him from ending life behind bars. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase

His close association with the conservatives seemed to have helped in the Presidential pardon.

Larkin hinted the outcome of the pardon as he stated that Arpaio was a terrible jailer and sheriff but was a brilliant politician.

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