The convicted former sheriff Joe Arpaio was formally pardoned by Trump, with the decision handed down recently by Susan R. Bolton, U.S. District Judge.
This move was not surprising to those who are following the story. The former sheriff was convicted last July for charges of criminal contempt when he ignored the order of a federal judge that stemmed from a lawsuit in 2007 for racial profiling. He was supposed to be sentenced a few weeks before.
This recent development was totally unacceptable to Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. In reaction to the pardon, Lacey said that Rex Tillerson was right in saying that Trump’s pardon of Arpaio proves that he is a moron.
Lacey added that Arpaio is a sheriff that revels in racism and torture. He also referred to the mutilated bodies and corpses that came out of Arpaio’s jail.
The story of Larkin and Lacey against Arpaio goes a long way. Larkin and Lacey were co-owners of the Phoenix New Times. They were very critical of the criminal activities that Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County has been committing in his jurisdiction for more than two decades.
New times were running news items and articles exposing and condemning these shady activities of the former sheriff. This caused Arpaio to set his eyes on the two, and their local newspaper. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
Among the criminal acts that the two claim that Arpaio has committed in his tenure as sheriff are brutal conditions inside prison cells. The sheriff even called his jail as a concentration camp. The sheriff, according to Lacey and Larkin is also guilty of causing inmate suicides and beating deaths. Over $100 million representing jail funds were illegally diverted as well, claimed the two.
There are also countless sex-crimes, many of them involving children, their investigations botched up by non-existent or poor investigations they said.
The sheriff also harassed Latinos which resulted in the class action suit called Melendres v. Arpaio which ended up with the sheriff’s criminal conviction. And on and on the list goes according to Lacey and Larkin.
The expose of New Times must have caught the ire of Arpaio and he ordered his armed deputies, the Selective Enforcement Unit, to get hold of the two. Lacey and Larkin were taken from their homes at Phoenix and brought to Arpaio’s jail on Oct. 18, 2007.
Actually, the two were incarcerated in two separate jails. However, there came out a large public outcry about the incident and Arpaio was forced to release the two in less than 24 hours.
Many observers say that Lacey and Larkin were illegally detained by Arpaio. The former sheriff and his SEU violated the First Amendment rights of the two, they claim. This started the long and protracted legal fight between Lacey and Larkin against Arpaio. It resulted in the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012 saying that the two were arrested illegally and without probable cause.
That ruling states that Arpaio and his SEU were public officials who ordered the urgent arrests of their critics. Even with the pardon handed down by Judge Bolton, the culpability of Arpaio with regards to the crime he has committed against Lacey and Larkin cannot be erased.