In October 2017, U. S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton validated President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. The pardon did not surprise many people. Arpaio was convicted during the summer of 2017 for criminal contempt. He ignored a judge’s order in 2007 racial profiling lawsuit. He was pardoned a few weeks prior to his sentencing.
The official ruling closed a 10-year, long-running Arpaio saga. The saga included an outrageous arrest of Phoenix New Times co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Larkin and Lacey were instrumental as their time as co-publishers in relentlessly covering and exposing scandals involving Arpaio.
Larkin and Lacey Began Their Pursuit of the Truth about Arpaio Decades Ago.
Their pursuit of the truth began during the 1970s. Lacey and Larkin documented in their newspaper alleged brutal beatings, inmate suicides and county money illegal going to another source. It did not end when Arpaio arrested them.
When Lacey and Larkin were contacted about Arpaio’s pardon, they did not have a lot of good things to say. In fact, Lacey listed a litany of negative things that happened during Arpaio’s six terms as sheriff. One thing on the list made the former sheriff infamous: the tent city he allegedly referred to as his concentration camp.
Lacey referred to the pardon as a failure in the justice system. After he listed how Arpaio had harmed people and destroyed their lives, he called the former sheriff’s behavior a ” Pretty stunning trail of evil.”
Larkin decided to discuss their time fighting for the truth. They (he and Lacey), in his opinion, was a thorn in his (Arpaio) side. That’s the reason he thinks the former sheriff arrested them.
When the Truth Meet Injustice: The Arrest of Lacey and Larkin.
In October 2007, both Lacey and Larkin were taken from their homes in handcuffs by sheriff deputies. It was done under the cover of darkness. Larkin and Lacey were driven away from their homes by plainclothes detectives in unmarked vehicles with Mexican license plates. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
Why were Lacey and Larkin arrested by the former sheriff? The reason can be traced back to a night in 2004. The New Times published an investigative column about Arpaio concealing ownership of several commercial real estate land parcels owned by him and his wife. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
The commercial real estate was reported valued at about $700,000. That same year the former sherrif made about $78,000 per year.
The sheriff was alleged outraged by the article and started a three-year quest to have the investigative reporter arrested. Allegedly he would be arrested under a rarely used statute that made it felony charge to publish any law enforcement official’s address. However, it was not illegal to publish any law enforcement official’s address.
The arrested created a tsunami of negative press and opinion at the sheriff. The Maricopa County’s attorney, and Arpaio ally, announced the charges would be dropped against Lacey and Larkin. This was 24 hours after their arrest. In 2013, the men agreed to a settlement.