While certainly not surprising, the formal validation of Joe Arpaio’s presidential pardon in 2017 was like a slap in the face to those who’d spent so long fighting his injustices. Earlier that same year, the former sheriff was convicted for contempt of court, with the possibility of a six-month jail sentence.
This conviction came about after Arpaio had ignored a court order following a lawsuit related to racial profiling. His pardon was issued by the president shortly before his sentencing.
As an unjust close to the latest part of a long battle against Arpaio, the president’s pardon ensures that Arpaio won’t end up behind bars for his numerous transgressions.
This battle between the former co-owners of the Phoenix New Times and Joe Arpaio has been a long one, the arrest of Larkin and Lacey over 10 years ago acting as one of the pivotal turning points. Over the years, the pair had exposed numerous wrongdoings by Arpaio during his six-term run as sheriff.
However, Arpaio always had strong political awareness, and when the tides turned against him in early 2016, he made a move that, confusing at the time, ended in him being absolved of all crimes, and pardoned by the president himself. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and http://james-larkin.com/about/
Endorsing Trump before he had even secured the GOP nomination, Arpaio’s political gamble paid off more than he could have hoped for, and, as one of his first major supporters, Trump came to see Arpaio as a valued ally, and someone who was more valuable to his agenda as a free man. So while his bid for a seventh term ended in failure, Arpaio and Trump still had the last laugh.
A Conflict of Some Interest
In hindsight, the arrest of Larkin and Lacey seemed to be a long time coming. A constant thorn in the sheriff’s side since he began his career, the Phoenix New Times and their co-owners were one of the greatest threats to his power, and he knew it.
So in October of 2007, Arpaio sprung his trap, sending his men to arrest the two journalists during a raid in the dead of night. Larkin and Lacey were stuffed unceremoniously into cells. However, the public wouldn’t stand for such a blatant attempt to silence criticism, and their outrage was swift and vicious.
Less than 24 hours later, Larkin and Lacey were set free after an announcement that the case was to be dismissed. But Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were angered by their astonishingly thuggish arrest and filed suit, eventually walking away with a $3.75 million settlement, and a new goal: seeing Arpaio behind bars.
The Frontera Fund
The two journalists put the settlement to use rather quickly, establishing the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund in order to provide grants to organizations dedicated to preserving migrant rights, and protecting freedom.
Afterwards, they founded a new publication online, Front Page Confidential, a news site dedicated to exposing threats to the First Amendment and freedom of speech.