Some years ago, Maricopa County, Arizona, had a controversial sheriff who had dubbed himself “America’s toughest sheriff”. His name was Arpaio. He had formed a revered unit known as the “Selective Enforcement Unit” that was seen by many as his own personal instrument to enforce his racist policies. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://thenewsversion.com/2018/03/larkin-lacey-speak-happened-joe-arpaio/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/
Most of these policies greatly undermined the rights of the immigrant communities in the state of Arizona as well as the progressives who opposed such policies. Nevertheless, Arpaio still enjoyed support from nationalist who viewed him as a hero for his crusade on illegal immigrants.
Although not many people could sum up the courage to face him, that didn’t deter Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin from Village Voice Media from criticizing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Lacey was the executive editor of the Village Voice Media Newspaper while his counterpart was the Chief executive officer.
The two started covering Arpaio’s misdeeds and this greatly frustrated the sheriff’s belligerent law enforcement tactics. So, on October 2007, by the order of Sherriff Joe Arpaio, officers from the Selective Enforcement Unit arrested and detained Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin.
At the cover of darkness, the officers forcibly removed the two from their respective homes and transferred them to two separate jails managed by Arpaio in two tinted back SUVs with Mexican number plates. They were later charged with laying bare the details of a grand jury investigation.
However, on the face of it, Lacey and Larkin had been arrested for a story they had penned in the Phoenix New Times that uncovered how Arpaio, together with his allies from the Maricopa County Attorney’s office had launched a scathing attack on the constitution.
The exposé showed how Arpaio, in collusion with the county attorney’s office, had issued subpoenas to the media company asking for the details of all the newspaper writers, editors and readers. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
The subpoenas also went further to ask for the readers personal browsing histories and their IP addresses as well. Instead of providing the Sheriff and the attorney’s office with the documents, Lacey and Larkin chose to write about it.
They also reported on a number of financial abnormalities and mismanagement of funds in the sheriff’s office. They also wrote about: the poor conditions of the jails, death, and mistreatment of inmates, mistreatment of the sheriff’s critics and racial profiling by the sheriff’s department.
Lacey said he would tell his inmates that he had been arrested for writing while he was in prison. Lacey and Larkin were, however, released 24 hours later after a loud national outcry by media houses for the two to be released. They filed a suit against Arpaio and the suit was settled for $3.7 million.
Even though the news of the arrest had spread across America, what came as a surprise to many was the decision by President Donald Trump to pardon Arpaio.