The criminal contempt charge slapped on former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in mid-2017 had his rivals celebrating as the fitting retribution to his misdeeds.
The opponents of Arpaio started rejoicing from day one when his bid for a seventh term flopped in November 2016. More than seeing a powerless Arpaio the rivals were waiting to see the moment when the sheriff goes to jail. But such dreams were short-lived as the presidential pardon came his way.
Now the onus is on Frontera Fund and others to fight the consequences of the dark policies of Arpaio. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/
Re-elected six times, the 85-year-old Arpaio had been in the top job for 24 years. He was in the limelight not only in Arizona but many parts of the country.
Presidential Pardon for Human Rights Violator
Belying the expectations of his detractors, Arpaio came out unscathed after obtaining a Presidential pardon by Donald Trump whom Arpaio backed during the birther movement against Barack Obama pointing to his birth outside America.
The pardoning by the president will remove the jail term for the ex-sheriff despite his atrocities on Hispanics and Latinos.
Frontera Fund to Defend Illegal Immigrants
The human rights violations spearheaded by Arpaio and company eventually led to the formation of Frontera Fund by media people Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey who wanted a platform to ensure justice to the Hispanic community against civil rights and racial abuses in Arizona.
Maricopa houses a massive population of Latino and Hispanic people hailing from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Arpaio can go to any extreme in ill-treating illegal immigrants, whom he considers as a problem for the society.
That is why the sheriff and his team had no conscience prick in violating civil rights of illegal immigrants as if the sheriff is above the law.
Court Steps in
However, the court punctured Arpaio’s arrogance. The U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow in Dec 2011 issued a preliminary injunction against the Sheriff and his Office. The order highlighted many actions of blatant civil rights abuses.
Despite the judge’s diktat, Arpaio went ahead with the profiling program and provoked the Judge who ruled in mid-2013 that Arpaio and his office had been doing racial profiling. Arpaio pleaded innocence and said it happened because of the wrong interpretation of the term.
But evidence proved that the sheriff flouted the court ruling intentionally.
Rejecting his alibi for misinterpretation, district judge Susan Bolton sentenced Arpaio for criminal contempt dealing a second blow to him after the loss of the seventh bid for re-election.
Intolerance to Media
Not only illegal immigrants, Arpaio’s wrath did not spare even the critics. Local paper Phoenix New times came at the receiving end of Arpaio for publishing news on his excesses.
The action of Arpaio’s allies in pressurizing the attorney’s office to direct the submission of details of the paper’s management became a scoop of the local paper.
Before the dust settled on the cover story, the sheriff had his retaliation. In October 2007, armed commandos of Arpaio’s Enforcement Unit swooped down the homes of executives Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey attached to the Village Voice Media.
But jailing of the media personnel triggered public outburst, and the men were released within hours.
Flawed Arrest of Media People
The arrest was a clear violation of the First Amendment rights at the behest of Arpaio. The long legal battle by Larkin and Lacey finally led to a court order that dubbed the detention untenable sans any cause. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
Asking to pay a $3.7 million as a settlement to Larkin and Lacey, the court rendered justice to the two media officials.
But the highlight was the noble act of Larkin and Lacey in spending the money to form the Frontera Fund than putting the money in their bank account.