In July 2017 the former and notorious sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, Joe Arpaio, was convicted by a judge for criminal contempt. He had refused to follow a judge’s order that had required him to stop targeting and profiling Latino motorists.
However, his conviction was pardoned by President Donald Trump. One of the big reasons for this is believed to be that Joe Arpaio was one of the earliest and most vocal supporters of Donald Trump’s birther movement against the then President Barack Obama. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/
Because of the pardon Joe Arpaio, who is now 85-years-old, will not be serving any jail time for his crime. Many of his opponents had been very happy when he lost his job after the elections of November 2016. However, and rightfully so, they didn’t feel that this was enough of a punishment for what he has done over the years against the minority population of Maricopa County. People wanted to see him handcuffed and led off to jail but, unfortunately, this now won’t be happening.
There are still groups and nonprofits working to fight against Joe Arpaio, his policies, and others in government positions in Arizona who behave the same way and have the same bigotry and hatred. One of these is the Frontera Fund, started by two newspaper publishers and authors who had their own rights violated by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
While serving as Sheriff Joe Arpaio had designated himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. He took an extreme view about illegal immigration, particularly that of Latino or Hispanic descent. He, along with those who supported him, said that everything that is wrong with American society today was due to illegal immigration. He and the deputies working in his office regularly violated people’s civil rights in order to arrest people for being in the country illegally.
The Frontera fund was founded by Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. While investigating a story about Joe Arpaio they were illegally arrested in the middle of the night by deputies working for him. After an outcry due to this obviously illegal event both were quickly released. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin ended up suing the county and, after a series of appeals, they were awarded $3.7 million. They used this money to set up the Frontera Fund.
This fund is dedicated to defending the rights of minorities in Arizona. They have supported many organizations such as the American Immigration Council, The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Justice that Works, the Phoenix Immigrant Justice Project among many others.
After Joe Arpaio had told to stop profiling Latinos and Hispanics in December 2011, he chose to ignore the judge and continue doing so. When the public and the judicial system could see it was violating the court’s order he was brought back to the courthouse in May 2013.
He claimed he continued the profiling because of a miscommunication and he didn’t understand what the court had told him. The judge, Susan Bolton, said that he had willfully violated the order and had understood it perfectly well.