Newspapermen Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey took a stand by speaking out publically against President Trump’s pardon of the worst sheriff in America’s history, Joe Arpaio.
The former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona was pardoned in October 2017. Judge Susan R. Bolton, a U.S. District Judge validated Trump’s pardon of Arpaio. Convicted in July of 2007 of racial profiling, the pardon came just a few weeks before he would have been sentenced.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey of the Phoenix New Times were arrested 10 years ago this fall because they covered stories of Arpaio’s scandals. Lacey said that Arpaio was a sheriff who tortured and advertised his racism. Arpaio had a parade of mutilated bodies and corpses that were taken out of his jail.
Arpaio served six terms in office. Jail conditions were brutal. The sheriff also had a tent city in which he stated was his concentration camp. Inmate suicides and beating deaths occurred all too often. Over $100 million dollars in jail funds were diverted and not used to help inmates. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/press/ and http://james-larkin.com/
Sex crimes occurred, with many of them involving young children, because of fictional investigations or poor attention being paid to the situation. Arpaio’s criminal conviction came about due to the blatant harassment of Latinos in the case Melendres v. Arpaio.
District Judge G. Murray Snow in 2013 ruled that Arpaio’s office was largely involved in ethnic profiling on an enormous scale and ordered reforms. He appointed a monitor to make sure that the reforms were executed. Arpaio was found guilty by Judge Bolton of defying that order. Without the pardon, Arpaio could have been sentenced to six months in jail.
Few believed that Arpaio, who turned 85 in June, would have spent any time in jail, even if Trump had not pardoned him. Michael Lacey felt this was a failure in our justice system that Arpaio was not sentenced to jail time or held accountable for the people’s lives he ruined. There was no one more up to date on Arpaio’s sins then Lacey and Larkin. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Michael and Jim both felt that Arpaio was eyeing an escape plan by endorsing Trump. He was an avid reader of political news and seemed to sense that Trump would win the presidential election. Their steadfast analysis of Arpaio, landed Lacey and Larkin in jail in October of 2007. Michael and Jim felt they were a thorn in the sheriffs side is why they got arrested.
The public responded fiercely against their arrests. Stories came out in the USA Today, New York Times and the Washington Post, all praising Lacey and Larkin for their reports in the New Times. The arrests were called improper and Lacey and Larkin were back home in twenty four hours.
Michael and Jim were paid $3.75 million by the Maricopa County, for the false arrests. They have set up a fund called the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund gives grants throughout Arizona to migrant rights organizations.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have returned to journalism. They founded the Front Page Confidential. It is a website that will cover the First Amendment and threats to free speech. Stephen Lemons, a former columnist and reporter for the New Times will be writing for their new website.