Joe Arpaio gained notoriety as the self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America” in Arizona’s Maricopa County. In office for six terms between 1992 and 2016. He lost his bid for a seventh term after paying out a multi-million dollar settlement to two reporters, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, who were found to have been wrongfully arrested by order of Arpaio.
In 2007 Larkin and Lacey had run a story critical of Arpaio. This was not the first time they had done so: Co-Owners of media company the Village Voice they used one of their papers, the Phoenix New Times, to try and shed some light on Arpaio’s various violations of due process, his profiling of Latinos and his poor treatment of inmates and women. His entire department was hired by him to enforce these policies, and according to multiple complaints they certainly did.
Though most complaints were handled in relative secrecy to protect Arpaio and his departments reputation, Larkin and Lacey were working to expose him. When they were getting close with a story about a Grand Jury illegally convened to investigate the reporters themselves- though they had no knowledge they were the target when they ran the story.
Accusing the two of revealing details of an investigation, the two were arrested in October of 2007 and held for 24 days before charges were dropped. They sued the Sheriffs office and won a settlement from the county, which made many of Arpaio’s supporters to abandon him at the polls.
Larkin and Lacey didn’t keep the settlement: They used it to start Frontera Fund, a charitable organization dedicated to helping protect the rights of Latinos in Arizona, where Arpaio’s policies did severe damage to the Latino community.
After losing his bid for re-election the Sheriff faced some charges of his own, and was found guilty. He was then pardoned by President Donald Trump and has since begun a bid for the Senate. Arpaio has become a national symbol and hero for Trump supporters. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times
Arpaio endorsed Trump early in his run for President and many believe Arpaio knew he was going to be found guilty and was trying to gain favor with Trump. As Trump’s first pardon, he seems to have succeeded.
Larkin and Lacey continue to campaign against Arpaio, using their reporting skills and coverage to remind people of all the racist, sexist, anti-immigrant and illegal activities of Arpaio as a Sheriff.