Joe Arpaio is the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He continues to set a precedent in what many following the saga are terming as the hand of impunity.
The lawman was about to get his sentence for criminal contempt when he was pardoned by the US President. He has been under increased scrutiny and criticism attracting hordes of protesters opposed to the presidential pardon. For over ten years, numerous scandals have dogged the former sheriff’s reign.
Media executives Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have had their sights trained on the lawman for a long time. Despite being stifled, threatened and even jailed, they continued to expose scandals, reports of corruption, discrimination and financial mismanagement at the lawman’s office.
Through the Phoenix New Times, the two journalists have fearlessly reported on the insidious activities and injustices meted out by the former sheriff to the residents of Arizona.
The two executives revisited the issue almost a decade after their arrest and incarceration by the sheriff. According to Michael Lacey, the president is entrenching corruption, racism, torture, and discrimination into the highest office in the land.
Some of the sticky issues the lawman faces include inhumane jails, diversion of correctional facility finances and poor investigations of criminal cases leading to hundreds of unsolved crimes.
Similarly, the lawman stands accused of racial profiling and harassment of the Latino community in the state. This latter issue resulted in Joe Arpaio’s criminal verdict.
Michael Lacey believes the justice system is long overdue for reform. He reiterates it was wrong for the saga to end with the lawman refusing to follow a judge’s orders instead of paying the price.
The former sheriff should be nailed for the deaths, torture, abuse, and damage to people’s lives that he perpetrated against the residents of Arizona. He brought it on himself in a spirited campaign to appear as the toughest sheriff in the country. He has been involved in endless scuffles with the journalists. He has been reported to ban them from appearing at his press conferences.
In addition, he delayed requests for state records and threatened to arrest the reporters for no valid reason. The two reporters already won against the rogue lawman in 2013 for improper arrest and abuse of their rights under the First Amendment. They used the $3.75 million settlement by Maricopa County to start a non-profit, the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund.
The organization fights for migrant, civil and human rights with a strong focus on charities with aligned causes in the state of Arizona. The former officer is a terrible sheriff, but he is also a very intuitive politician. His endorsement of the candidature of Donald Trump earned him a get-out-of-jail card, which he proudly used. The presidential pardon is a consolidation of partisan traction to please the local base.
Through the non-profit, the two media executives are set to keep fighting for migrant rights in Arizona and beyond. They are slated to take their battle to the next level through an online portal dubbed front page confidential. The site promises smarter advocacy for free speech and respect for their rights under the first amendment.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: