Last October in Arizona, President Donald Trump’s pardon of Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was formally validated by District Judge Susan Bolton.
Sheriff Joe had been convicted in July of the same year for criminal contempt of court. Trump’s pardon came about weeks before Arpaio’s scheduled sentencing. This conviction came about as a result of a racial-profiling lawsuit in 2007, after which, Arpaio elected to ignore the order of a federal judge.
The Infamous Sheriff Joe Walks Away a Free Man
The validation of Trump’s pardon puts an abrupt end to possibly the final chapter of the decades-long story of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Throughout Arpaio’s 24-year run, he’d been at the forefront of numerous scandals, including the arrest of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, journalists, and former co-owners of the Phoenix New Tims. Over his time as sheriff, Larkin and Lacey used the Phoenix New Times to consistently expose Arpaio’s scandals and atrocities against migrants and inmates.
Lacey offered a few words of appraisal on Arpaio and Trump: “This is the perfect marriage of two corrupt individuals,” he notes. “[Arpaio] is a sheriff who advertised torture and racism,” Lacey added.
Arpaio Manipulates Politics to Make His Escape
While Trump’s pardon is what ultimately allowed Arpaio to walk away, few people ever believed that he would spend any time behind bars for his cavalcade of criminal actions. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
Looking back, one has to wonder if Arpaio sensed that he was nearing the end of the line, and leveraged his political acumen to formulate a strategy to leave unscathed by the ghosts of his atrocities.
His endorsement of Donald Trump in early 2016 surprised many, who, at the time, found the idea of Trump even securing the GOP nomination outlandish. While his 2016 run for a seventh term as sheriff fell flat, endorsing Trump would later pay off for Arpaio.
“He was a terrible sheriff… But he was a great fucking politician,” going on to say that “It’s hard to admit that because I don’t respect Arpaio for anything other than his political acumen.” Lacey goes on to note that Trump will likely gain approval from his followers for this move, but says that “the rest of us are never going to forget it.”
Larkin and Lacey Fight Against Joe Arpaio’s Racist Philosophy
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin knew Arpaio had to be stopped and were tireless in their exposure of his crimes against humanity. Perhaps this is why, in late 2007, they were stuffed into unmarked cars by Arpaio’s thugs, and brought to one of his jails in handcuffs.
Predictably, the public didn’t exactly approve of the arrests, and due to immense public outrage, the pair of journalists were released less than 24 hours later.
Larkin and Lacey sued, settling several years later for $3.75 million, which was paid for by the county.
Using this settlement, they created the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, which serves to provide grants to Arizona organizations focused on migrant rights and free speech.