One cold night at the stroke of midnight sheriff Joe Arpaio was at it again. This time he had come to effect an arrest against Jim Larkin and Michel Lacey. The two are the owners of the Phoneix new times as well as well as the overall village voice media.
This was in response to a story that the phoenix new times had published against the sheriff. In the story that runs it described how the sheriff was working with a grand jury in order to compel them to disclose private information regarding some of the paper’s editors as well readers browsing history.
The sheriff had made it a habit of getting his way by any way possible. His abuse of power was well known within Maricopa County. This was especially rampant among the immigrants in the county.
In an effort to maintain his self-proclaimed toughest sheriff title he ensured that he target immigrants on a whole new level. He would stop them for no reason and demand for documents at any place or time.
His way of running the sheriffs office was one of intimidation and violation of various parts of the constitution as well as the expected code of conduct for a sheriff. His need to make everyone tow his line meant that he even went after political competitors using the resources and powers granted by his office to intimidate them.
The journalist in Michel Larkin and Jim Lacey could not let them sit back and do nothing while others underwent this kind of treatment from the sheriff. The two continuously reported on his numerous violations which really irked the sheriff. Unknown to them he plotted to have them arrested and in the middle of the night, he had his order effected.
The duo were bundled into an unmarked SUV’s which would later be taken to different jail cells. They would be charged with interfering with the events of a grand jury. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
These charges were trumped up which meant they could not stick. The outcry moreover from the journalistic community, as well as ordinary citizens, made the arrest untenable. The sheriff released the two and at the same time dropped all the charges he had concocted against them.
What followed was a five-year court battle pitting the sheriff, county and the entire sheriff’s office against Michel and Jim Larkin. The court eventually decided in favor of the two and it was this ruling that meant Maricopa county had to settle with the two. The county offered 3.75 million dollars which the duo accepted.
The money was then used to start a fund that goes by the name Frontera fund. This is an initiative meant to benefit the Arizona Hispanic community who have been subject to the sheriff’s antics.
The fund has today been able to work with various individuals and groups to achieve their core objectives of assisting the Hispanic community against the violations such as those meted on them by the sheriff. The sheriff would finally lose his seat when the electorate rejected him resoundingly.
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