One of the most unusual, yet somehow not surprising actions by President Donald Trump was the pardon of Joe Arpaio, a man who is known for his immoral activities as a police officer.
Joe Arpaio’s first controversial action came less than a year after he was elected as Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. He created an outdoor criminal housing facility called Tent City. Criminals were housed in tents in the scorching Arizona desert, inhumane to say the least.
Reports of individuals being abused, beaten, and tortured became a common occurrence in Arizona. The Phoenix New Times can be credited with beginning these journalistic efforts, but newspapers from all over the county soon began to cover Arpaio.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were heading the Phoenix New Times at the time. As the owners of Village Voice Media they were also the owners of the Phoenix New Times. It wasn’t long until simply doing their job got them into trouble. Joe Arpaio finally said enough is enough and sent his deputies to arrest Larkin and Lacey.
Arpaio believed he had found a legal way to arrest them when they published information pertaining to a court issued subpoena.
However, the courts found that a citizen has the right to reveal the contents of a subpoena in any form they wish. Joe Arpaio’s arrest was illegal; Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were awarded almost $4 million.
The lawsuit took nearly 6 years to settle, but as soon as they got the money they created The Frontera Fund. This organization became a figurehead for the Latino community in Arizona.
In 2013, when The Frontera Fund was created, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin decided to focus their altruistic efforts on Latinos because they were the target of Arpaio’s harsh policing.
One such instance of Joe Arpaio targeting Latinos came the same year the New Times arrest was made. Joe Arpaio arrested Mr. Melendres, a Mexican citizen who was in the country legally on vacation. Joe Arpaio cost the tax payers nearly 70 million dollar with this arrest.
Arpaio was also ordered to stop trying to enforce immigration law, which isn’t even the job of a sheriff in the first place. Arpaio ignored these orders and was charged with criminal contempt of court, the charge that Donald Trump would later wipe from the books.
Joe Arpaio, a convicted criminal, is now running for a Senate seat in the upcoming 2018 elections. If Arpaio has his way, he will be back in office, this time in an even more powerful position.
Even if this happens, citizens of Arizona can rest easy knowing that The Frontera Fund is there to assist them and to protect their constitutional rights from individuals like Joe Arpaio.