President Trump’s decision to pardon Joe Arpaio has left many questions, rather than answers. It has arguably been the most unusual and questionable pardon in U.S. history.
Arpaio’s reputation is preceded by a wrongful imprisonment several years ago of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey; two Village Voice owners who were merely performing their journalistic responsibility.
Arpaio’s Orders Bring Disrepute
It was 10 years ago when, in the secrecy and darkness of the night, Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Units (SEU) announced themselves at the separate residences of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, both of whom live in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://reporterexpert.com/sheriff-arpaios-2017-criminal-conviction-clash-michael-lacey-jim-larkin/
On the orders of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, both Jim and Michael were taken into custody for allegedly disclosing unauthorized details of a grand-jury investigation.
At the time of the incident, Michael was the CEO of Village Voice Media newspaper, while Jim was the editor-in-chief. The detainment by SEU wasn’t a surprise to either of them, because earlier that day the newspaper published an article discussing the grand jury probe, which involved the Maricopa County sheriff’s department.
Prior to that day, Jim and Michael publicized the overly aggressive tactics taken by law enforcement within the sheriff’s department. Since Arpaio’s swearing-in as Sheriff in 1992, the office was the target of many complaints by immigrants within the community.
His infamous and inhumane “Tent City” was a controversial topic that was often discussed in several articles published by Village Voice Media. It was also published that immigrants were being detained by Arpaio’s deputies more often than others in the area.
There were numerous cases that involved Arpaio representing legal justification, when in fact; there wasn’t any legal authority whatsoever.
Taking a Stand For Rights
In 2011, Arpaio was officially charged with a federal crime for violating the rights of Latino’s and a select number of immigrant groups. The blatant abuse of power by Sheriff Arpaio had finally come to light.
Jim and Michael exercised their rights as journalists to share information about Arpaio, which ultimately led to their arrest. It took 24 days, and an outcry from the public, to get them released from jail.
Jim and Michael filed suit against Arpaio and Maricopa County, for violating their first amendment rights and false imprisonment. The case was settled for $3.7 million and earmarked to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, which is used to assist and empower the Latino and immigrant community.
The Trump Effect and the Consequences
Arpaio was charged with a misdemeanor stemming from being held in contempt of court by a federal judge. The pardon by Trump is problematic because Arpaio could take another crusade on un-American justice. He did not win re-election as sheriff for the seventh time.
The question remains why Trump became involved in pardoning Arpaio. The pardon has an underlying speculation that Arpaio’s help to secure Arizona for electoral votes resulted in a strange pay-for-play – or pardon-for-play. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Arpaio does not possess any political savviness to become a likely candidate to appeal to the GOP base. While the actions taken by Jim and Michael did expose the corruption and the abuse of power by Arpaio, there is hope that the public will step forward to curtail any political momentum gained.