2018 is a brand new year, but for some Arizona residents, with the recent pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio after being convicted in 2017 for defying a court order to stop profiling Latinos, it comes as a disappointment instead of a blessing! This purported illegal profiling of Latino’s is not the first crime or abuse the sheriff has been accused of committing and despite his track record; it is largely going unchecked still.
Some speculate that his pardon comes as a thank you from President Donald Trump for supporting his efforts in the accusations against Barrack Obama with the Birther Movement, which accused Obama of not having true birth citizenship in the United States.
While Joe Arpaio may not be convicted and sentenced to carry a term out in jail for the profiling scandal, some find semi-solace in the fact that he lost his seventh term re-election to the Arizona seat.
For those who wanted to see a conviction and will not, fortunately the Frontera Fund still exists to right civil wrongs and fight against discrimination and those who carry it out.
No one more than Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin can relate to the sheriff’s misgivings along with countless other populations that were subjected to his profiling, mistreatment and prejudice. It was deep in the middle of the night, when the two reporters from The Phoenix New Times were jostled out of bed and wrongly arrested and their first amendment rights were violated.
Larkin and Lacey were held in two different jails that were run by Arpaio. Larkin and Lacey got in the sheriffs crosshairs when they starting reporting on the local grievances people were experiencing in the Maricopa County area under Arpaio’s jurisdiction.
When the sheriff got wind of an expose, he had the material and evidence the two reporters had stacked against him subpoenaed. Instead of doing as they were told though, they immediately released the information to the public and non-compliance was the grounds in which the sheriff used to falsely arrest them. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Local residents were so outraged at the audacity of the sheriff; most spoke out as an outcry for Larkin and Lacey’s release. Twenty-four hours later, the reporters were released and all charges were dropped.
What followed was a lengthy court battle that lasted through heated deliberations, but ultimately resulted in the Maricopa County having to pay a restitution fee of $3.7 million to Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
The two have notably used the restitution revenue to fight against and expose the sheriff’s misgivings, profiling and freeing anyone else that he locks up for speaking out against him or his practices. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.phillypurge.com/2017/06/23/jim-larkin-michael-lacey-make-the-list-of-civil-rights-protectors/
The organization works to establish legal representation and other resources for Latino’s who have been wrongfully harassed just because of their skin color or immigrant status. Not also, just for the intent purpose of righting Arpaio’s wrongs, the Frontera Fund has also helped countless other civil rights groups, such as the Hopi and Panther Foundation!