The recent presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, America’s self-proclaimed toughest sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona has garnered plenty of public attention. Those who are aware of his notoriety are outraged by his pardon. One of his most heinous acts was the wrongful imprisonment of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the owners of the publication house, the Village Voice.
The incident happened about ten years ago when the Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit agents knocked the doors of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey in the dark hours and arrested them against charges of disclosing details about a grand-jury investigation.
Now, Michael Lacey was the executive editor of the Village Voice Media newspaper while Jim Larkin assumed the position of the CEO of the company. Both fellows came from different states. Michael came from Newark while Jim came from Phoenix. Both had enrolled for the Arizona State University, but both dropped out of it.
Both believed passionately in the cause of human rights and thus they formed a team. Their professional career started with a campus newspaper, the Phoenix New Times. Later, they went on to acquire 17 more newspapers to form the Village Voice Media newspaper. Through it, they explored many social and political issues.
Since Joe Arpaio was a formidable force to fight with; most newspapers chose to ignore his misdeeds and heinous acts against the Hispanics and not publish them. But Larkin and Lacey refused to be intimidated and started writing regularly against him. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
They wrote about the atrocities carried out by Joe on illegal immigrants from Mexico in his created concentration camps while they waited for deportment. This was what miffed Joe, and he got them arrested under a fake warrant and tortured them throughout the period. However, he could not detain them and had to release them after 24 days.
Post this, Larkin and Lacey grew more determined, and they filed a lawsuit against Joe for the wrongful arrest and torture inflicted on them. While the case was being heard in the court, they presented all the evidence that they had collected against Joe.
Soon, Joe became a notorious figure, and it was unsurprising that he lost the seventh election and thus his power. He was later imprisoned for contempt of court for six months apart from drooling out $3.7 million as settlement amount to the pair.
Larkin and Lacey used the money to create a trust fund which helps Hispanics to fight against all discrimination and misdeeds conducted on them. Speaking in Joe’s misconduct, the pair states that being an illegal immigrant in a country is not such a heinous crime that such atrocities and death sentence are imposed on them.
Today, even though Joe has got a presidential pardon; he cannot carry out any of the heinous acts anymore, thanks to the brave fight of Larkin and Lacey. Presently, the pair has taken up the fight of threats to free speech and the First Amendment through their website, The Front Page Confidential. Salute to such brave people who keep the light of truth and justice high and blazing.