The decision by President Donald Trump and US District Judge to pardon the former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has sparked outrage across Arizona and the rest of the country.
According to Phoenix New Times news report published November 17, 2017 Judge Susan Bolton pardon endorsed an earlier decision by President Trump to pardon the Sheriff convicted in July of ignoring a federal Judge’s order arising from a 2007 racial profiling lawsuit.
The decision came just before the former Sheriff, who stands accused of criminal contempt was to face trial.
The sheriff is accused of many wrongdoings, including torture, sex crimes, fatal beating of inmates, inmate suicides, racism and diversion of jail funds. In one such case, Arpaio is accused of diverting jail funds amounting over $100 million.
In 1992, the retired DEA official was accused of forcing inmates to wear stripped jumpsuits and pink underwear; the inmates were then told to eat rotten fruits.
During the infamous Tent City Debacle of 1993, Arpaio was censured for cramming inmates; exposing inmates to dangerous summertime temperatures and savagely beating, shackled expectant mothers.
Among the prominent persons who have voiced their outrage at the pardon are the former co-owners of Phoenix New Times, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
Speaking to the press, Lacey called Joe Arpaio a corrupt individual, whose decrees have no place in the civilized world. Lacey added that he was saddened by the country’s justice system for letting free the 85 year old former Sheriff go scot free without spending a single day in jail in spite of his many ills.
The newsmen have done a lot to expose the scandals permitted under Arpaio’s 24 year rule as County Sheriff. During his tenure, Arpaio frequently responded to the New Times reports by banning its journalist from covering his events.
He also threatened reporters with jail time and ignored numerous requests by the press to provide county records. It will be remembered that on October 2007, Larkin and Lacey were illegally arrested in the dead of the night following Arpaio’s order. The newsmen were later released and offered a settlement of $3.7 million.
Lacey and Larkin history as champions of freedom date back many years. The journalists dropped out of Arizona State University to go into the media business. Their decision was informed by anger that greeted the Kent State Killings of 1970.
At the height of its operations, the Village Voice Media group comprised of more than 15 publications including the Phoenix New Times.
The newsmen sold their company to the Voice Media Group in 2013 for an undisclosed amount. Lacey and Larkin have vowed to continue fighting for the rights of Latinos and accountability from people in authority. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey formed a fund to support migrant’s rights group in Arizona. According to Releasefact, the newsmen used the settlement they received from Maricopa County to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
Many Latinos and Hispanics facing mistreatment and discrimination by law enforcement officials and public officials have benefited from the program.