Former Arizona Police Chief, Joe Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to stop targeting immigrants, representing a setback for the politician who at one time was popular by such tactics. Larkin and Lacey, the Frontera Fund founders, who were also once targeted by the sheriff, are wondering if Trump will come to Arpaio’s rescue with a pardon.
Arpaio failed to obey a judge who had ordered him to stop targeting immigrants.The maximum sentence could be six months, but some lawyers who have followed the process said they doubted that someone of his age to be imprisoned.
Critics claim that the verdict was a deserved punishment for someone who had escaped accountability much of his six terms as chief of police.
The controversial sheriff was finally defeated at the polls because voters became fed up with his illegal efforts and the legal problems they generated.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin say this verdict, handed down by Judge Susan Bolton is a victory for Arizona. There are many critics of the sheriff for the unusual way in which the police chief imposed the order in his county, such as incarcerating prisoners in tents outdoors in the sweltering heat, forcing them to wear pink underwear and dividing large numbers of immigrant families with their imprisonments.
Arpaio, who served 24 years as police chief in the metropolitan Phoenix area, sidestepped two previous criminal investigations into his work. However, he could not avoid legal problems when his illegal targets toward immigrants continued to operate for almost a year and half after another judge ordered him to stop. Larkin and Lacey say Arpaio’s targeting of Latinos was on-going.
Prosecutors argued that Arpaio violated the order to stop his discriminatory practices in order to promote his reelection campaign in 2012. He even acknowledged that he prolonged the illegal patrols, but says he did so unintentionally.
Unlike other police chiefs who left matters relating to immigration to federal authorities, Arpaio made numerous arrests of immigrants, including raids on businesses in which its agents focused on immigrants who used fake IDs to get the job.
Larkin and Lacey point out that Arpaio’s actions are similar to those that President Trump has promoted. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, both advocates of civil and human rights of Latinos say Arpaio’s rule wa s a significant impact on Arizona’s reputation as a hostile place for immigrants.
Larkin and Lacey say now that Arpaio’s rule is over, hopefully the frustrations and discrimination in Arizona can disappear.
Larkin and Lacey founded the Frontera Fund in 2014 to fight for civil and human rights protections. Many of their endeavors focus on issues pertaining to immigrants and Latinos that are targeted and face discrimination.
The organization works with grassroots advocates with mutual initiatives and visions to improve civil, human, and legal rights. Many of the Larkin and Lacey campaigns have opened doors and reached a wider audience, and together they work on nationwide opportunities.