In August, 2017 President Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. In October of that year Judge Susan R. Bolton formally validated that pardon. Stemming from a 2007 racial profiling lawsuit for ignoring a federal judge’s order to end ethnic profiling of Latinos for which Arpaio was convicted.
Over the six terms of office that Arpaio served, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, former co-owners of Phoenix New Times, covered the sheriff persistently and frequently exposed scandals in which he was involved that included, Arpaio’s infamous tent city that exposed inmates to temperatures of over 135 degrees in the summer. At indoor facilities, prisoners were barbarically beaten and pregnant women were shackled to their beds while giving birth.
There were an unknown number of wrongful deaths and inmates hanging themselves in numbers far above other county jails. The sheriff misused his authority to investigate, slander and prosecute rivals and critics including Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
In October 2007, Arpaio had the two arrested under the cover of darkness after receiving an unconstitutional and overbroad subpoena and writing an article about it for the Phoenix New Times.
The arrests brought down a tsunami of outrage across the country and forced the county attorney to declare that the arrests were improper and the case was closed in less than 24 hours.
Larkin and Lacey sued and in 2013 the board of supervisors voted to pay them a $3.75 million settlement. With that money Lacey and Larkin have formed the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
The fund works to give to non-profits that support the rights of Latinos and Hispanics who have experienced prejudice at the hands of law enforcement and other public officials.
Also in 2013, the class action Melendres v. Arpaio alleging widespread racial profiling ordered by Arpaio and carried out by his agency, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow ruled that in fact the profiling had occurred and ordered a list of reforms.
Jim Larkin is a native of Arizona and dropped out of Arizona State University 1972 when he teamed up with Michael Lacey to publish Phoenix New Times in response to the ultra conservative slant of the local news media coverage of the student antiwar protests. Learn more about Jim Lacey and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/about/ and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin
Michael Lacey grew up in Newark, New Jersey and moved out west to attend Arizona State University in the late 1960s. By 1970, Lacey dropped out and they published the inaugural issue of Phoenix New Times with Lacey as executive editor and Larkin as the head of advertising.
Ultimately, they owned a conglomerate of 17 like-minded papers all over the country, including the Village Voice in New York City.
At the end of 2012, Village Voice Media executives bought the papers after the chain had reached nearly 9 million readers a month and 56 million online and had earned a Pulitzer Price.