Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are still in the fight to support the right of Latino citizens in Maricopa County Arizona. Thankfully, since the reign of terror perpetrated by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has ended, they can do it without fear of reprisal.
Many people thought that Arpaio would be serving time in federal prison for ignoring the orders of a federal judge who ordered him to stop racial profiling.
Alas, that all changed when President Donald Trump pardoned him in 2017. Lacey wasn’t at all shocked. He, like many others are well aware of Arpaio’s atrocities during his 24 years as sheriff. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and https://michael-lacey.com/
The self-dubbed “America’s toughest sheriff” got away with a lot. Not only did he target and harass Latino and Hispanic citizens for decades, he went after anyone who dared to criticize him. This is exactly what he did to Larkin and Lacey, but the results were not what he expected.
Larkin and Lacey are executives with the Village Voice Media, the company that owns The Phoenix New Times. The men bombarded the embattled sheriff with bad press as much as humanly possible.
The wrote full and multiple-page spreads citing all of the sheriff’s dirty dealings including financial misappropriations, unexplained prison deaths, violation of prisoner rights and much more. But the thing that finally set Arpaio off is when they discovered that Arpaio’s minions in the prosecutor’s office was issuing grand jury subpoenas. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Michael Lacey | Twitter
What happened next was likely one of the most egregious acts of First Amendment rights violations ever seen. Several of the sheriff’s goons showed up at the Larkin and Lacey’s homes, arrested them and locked them up in separate jails. The were quickly released when the story received national attention.
The men filed suits and won $3.2 million. Instead of pocketing the money, they instead chose to use it to start the Frontera Fund. But Arpaio had gotten away with so much for so long, he still believed he could do whatever he wanted.
When Judge Federal Judge G Murray Snow ordered him to stop targeting Hispanic drivers, it fell on deaf ears. Another Federal Judge Susan Bolton convicted him of criminal contempt.
Arpaio lost his last last election bid in 2016. Now he has an eye the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake. Many believe Arpaio has about as much chance in winning as a snowball does in hell.