In October 2007, Michael Lacey and jam Larkin, two veteran journalist from Arizona were arrested in the middle of the night by officers from the office of the sheriff. Back then Joe Arpaio was the Sheriff of Maricopa County. Why were they arrested? The office of the sheriff accused them of publishing information that revealed the verdict of grand jury before actual revelation. Lacey and Larkin are the founders of two media outlets known as Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times.
They used these two platforms to publish information on illegal activities of state officials. One of their newspapers had carried a story about Joe Arpaio where they accused him of supporting discrimination of Latinos in Maricopa County.
Under his instructions, his officers were carrying out mass violations of human rights by arresting and torturing people who were found to be living in the county with the proper documents.
Arizona is one of the states that have a high number of immigrants due to its proximity to the Mexico border. Many immigrants try to access the United States by going through the southern border. Joe Arpaio as the Sheriff of one of the adversely affected counties decided that he would stop the immigration.
However, the steps he took to stop immigration were horrendous. They amounted to a violation of human rights which is a crime under the law. According to human rights laws, it does not matter the origin or the nationality of a person, as long as they are human beings, they deserve to be treated with the respect that is deserved of every person.
Joe Arpaio did not seem to understand the role of human rights. He discriminated the immigrants without giving them a chance.
Immigrants in his county would be arrested, placed under concentration camps before being deported back to the countries. It is in the concentration camps where immigrants would face the worst treatment. All manner of crimes went on these facilities. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
People were beaten, tortured and even killed. There was also an inadequate supply of basic needs such as water and food. The temperatures in the facilities would go up to over 135 degrees Fahrenheit. It was almost impossible for human beings to survive under such conditions.
Another thing that happened in these facilities is that people were never given an opportunity to seek medical attention. There many immigrants who died because they were denied a chance to get treatment.
With such actions happening, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin could not seat easily. They felt that there was a need to act on these cases by asking for the prosecution of Arpaio.
After the arrest and release, they took the county to court and were awarded $3.75 million in compensation. They decided that they would use these funds to support human rights groups in Arizona. They do not want to see such a thing happen to any other person.
Joe Arpaio was in 2017 pardoned by President Trump in what was a dark day in the history of human rights activism all over the world.