President Donald Trump’s decision late last year to pardon Arizona Sherriff Joe Arpaio drew strong reactions from many people, including Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
Lacey and Larkin, one time co-owners of the Phoenix New Times, were very outspoken and critical of the former Sheriff. Through Arpaio’s six terms as sheriff, the New Times documented many of the questionable actions and dubious arrests made.
This prompted Arapaio to have Larkin and Lacey themselves arrested for less than valid reasons in 2007.
In addition to these issues, there were many scandals that followed Arpaio as he continued his career. Some of the most controversial issues included repeated targeting of Latinos, inhumane conditions in jails, cases botched due to improper handling, the beating death of inmates in custody and millions of dollars in funding designated for jail management going missing.
These issues lead to Arapaio eventually being convicted of criminal contempt, and while some people were looking forward to seeing him serve a jail sentence, others felt sure that his case would never make it that far.
While he could have served up to six months in jail, Arapaio’s support of Trump lead to him be -pardoned without having to enter prison. Now 85 and having failed at his last bid to be re-elected as sheriff, Arpaio is likely to live the rest of his days in private. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
It is a quiet end to what was a long career in the public eye. Arpaio was first elected in the early 1990s and from the start claimed to be the toughest sheriff in the United States.
He engaged in unorthodox tactics such as feeding inmates in his prisons rotting food and opening “Tent City”, an outdoor jail where inmates were forced to live in the heat.
However, none of his actions were found to be illegal until his 2007 campaign to target Latinos. Arpaio and his deputies continued this behavior until he was eventually sued and in 2013 it was found that the behavior was unlawful and considered racial profiling. Arpaio was eventually found to be in contempt for failing to stop this behavior.
Throughout his career, Larkin and Lacey worked to report all of the offenses committed as they happened. This latest twist in the story does not surprise either man, who saw the Sheriff as a talented and calculating politician. Arapaio’s early support of Trump’s campaign for president is one of the likely reasons he was pardoned.