The Day Jim Larkin And Michael Lacey Beat Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Throwing journalists in jail, setting up tortuous Tent City Prison camps and violating the basic human rights of thousands of people sounds like the actions of some dictator in a Third World country. But all of the above was just routine business for a former notorious Arizona sheriff.

That sheriff was Joe Arpaio. For more than 20 years, Arpaio repeatedly won re-election on a platform of brutal treatment of immigrants. Arpaio was able to tap into the significant segment of Arizona society that held vehement anti-immigration views. They liked the “tough medicine” Arpaio doled out to undocumented workers. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: and

But Arpaio often ran roughshod over the U.S. Constitution in more ways than one — including the time in 2007 when he arrested the owners of Village Voice Media, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Taking a pair of journalists from their homes in the middle of the night and tossing them in a county cell, Arpaio showed blatant disregard for the 1st Amendment.

Thankfully, the American system of checks and balances righted the wrong in short order. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were released from jail (after about three weeks) and all charges were dropped.

Larkin and Lacey sued Maricopa County. They won a judgement of $3.7 million. Thanks to the reckless actions of Sheriff Arpaio, county taxpayers payers paid a steep price.

Fortunately, Lacey and Larkin are men of larger vision. Rather than just banking the windfall they received, the two media men plunged their millions into a nonprofit charity group known as the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund. This organization is dedicated to helping the very people Sheriff Arpaio spent years terrorizing — people of Hispanic heritage and undocumented immigrants.

Years after Larkin and Lacey debacle, the luck of Joe Arpaio ran out. He was charged by federal authorities with criminal contempt of court for his ongoing policies of racially profiling Latino and Hispanic people. Arpaio was found guilty. Suddenly, the sheriff was no longer a sheriff and a bona fide convicted criminal.

But then Donald Trump won the presidency. His first pardon went to none other than Joe Arpaio. One minute he was facing possible jail time and the next his legal problems had vanished. Now Arpaio is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona. Read more: Larkin and Lacey Fruntera Fund | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase

Thankfully, Arpaio is polling dead last among his fellow Republican contenders. It’s unlikely he’ll end up in Washington where he can cause even more trouble with more power than ever before

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