After spending years scrutinizing the administration of Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff of Maricopa County, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey got a dress down after they were handcuffed and held in jail for one day under the orders of Arpaio. Lacey and Larkin are some of the people who can recount the ordeal that immigrants living in Maricopa County had to go through under Arpaio’s rule.
Lacey and Larkin have always been defenders of human and civil rights. The two were in the 1960s students at the Arizona State University. They took a campus newsletter known as the Phoenix New Times and made it a nationwide publication. The newspaper was part of 17 publications that Lacey and Larkin established under the Village Voice Media.
Joe Arpaio became the sheriff of Maricopa County in 1992. He ruled the county for 24 years and only left the position of the sheriff in 2016 when the people ousted him. During his tenure, he was commonly known to many people as the "America’s Toughest Sheriff," a title he had earned from his stance on immigration to the United States. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/
Arpaio used his tenure in office to stop immigration into the United States in an extremist manner. He started the initiative to stop immigration by arresting anyone found in the county without the proper documentation. The undocumented immigrants would be arrested and taken to concentration camps where they would be held up awaiting deportation back to their countries.
The concentration camps were torture chambers where officers under his authority would beat up and harass the immigrants. There were many reported cases of deaths caused by beating and torture from the officers. There were also sex crimes that were recorded in the jails use to hold up the immigrants. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Make The List of Civil Rights Protectors | Philly Purge
The jails established by Arpaio were not the normal ones, these were made of tents making them almost inhabitable during the summer since the temperatures would go up to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The harsh conditions coupled with the persecution from the officers manning the facilities made life in these jails unbearable.
All these crimes were being done behind closed doors by Arpaio, but when Lacey and Larkin got wind of what was happening, they conducted investigations and revealed the rot that was happening behind closed doors in Maricopa County.
Many cases of breaking the law characterized Arpaio’s tenure. In 2007, a case entitled Melendres v. Arpaio was initiated to protest the harassment of Latinos living in Maricopa. Melendres wanted Arpaio held criminally responsible for the wrongs which had been committed on Latinos.
The work that Lacey and Larkin did in exposing Arpaio landed them in trouble in 2007 after they were arrested by Arpaio for exposing him. He was so intolerant that he did not want anyone interfering with his illegal actions.
Lacey and Larkin were held in jail for one day after being arrested at night. Arpaio wanted to harass them for exposing him. Public pressure was however too much that he did not manage to hold them for long.