Sheriff Joe Arpaio has to be one of the worst figures in American history. The racist sheriff ran the Sheriff’s Department in Maricopa County, Arizona. The county has Arizona’s largest population and the city of Phoenix lies within its borders. This gave Sheriff Joe plenty of people to torment.
The “Tough on Crime” Sheriff has been quoted as saying that his Maricopa County jail was a concentration camp. It earned the nickname “Tent City” due to the use of tents and one of the hottest places in America.
A litany of complaints poured out of the Maricopa County jail. Many women were forced to walk down a hall made of chain-link fence past the sex offenders just to go to the bathroom. Male inmates were forced to wear pink underwear and the food in the Maricopa County jail was abysmal. All of this inhumane treatment actually lead to crime rates in Maricopa County going up. 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
This inhumane treatment of inmates caught the attention of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. The two were working for Village Voice Media which owns the Phoenix New Times. They began exposing the terrible treatment of inmates at the hands of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a series of newspaper articles.
That’s when the sheriff decided to enforce his own racist views. He instructed his Sheriff’s Department to pull over anybody who looked to be an “illegal immigrant.” Of course, his Sheriff’s Department began to profile Latinos. His law enforcement officers arrested a record number of Latinos even if they were American citizens.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were able to expose the fact that these arrests were unconstitutional. It gave rise to different lawsuits that would eventually spell the demise of the racist sheriff.
A federal court ordered Sheriff Joe Arpaio to stop profiling Latinos and he defied the order. He was convicted of contempt and later pardoned by President Trump.
But one of Joe Arpaio’s most heinous acts came when he arrested Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey late at night in their Phoenix homes. The men were jailed unlawfully for 24 days. They settled a lawsuit stemming from the arrest for $3.7 million.