It was an October night in the year 2007 when Michael Lacy and Jim Larkin were handcuffed and arrested by armed deputies that were ordered to do so by Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Both of the men worked for the Village Voice Media as well as the Phoenix New Times newspaper and were taken by force from their homes. After their arrest, they were forced into SUVs that were unmarked and had Mexican license plates only to be transported to two different jails that were both managed by no other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, himself.
The reason for the arrests stems from the fact that Sheriff Arpaio didn’t like what the two men had to say about him in stories that were being published in the Phoenix New Times. These stories were painting a true picture of Arpaio and his illegal methods, and he didn’t like it. It was when mainstream news coverage failed the people of Arizona by publishing phony, puff pieces on the sheriff that the Phoenix New Times felt it was their duty to report the truth. When they reported about the horrible management from Arpaio, his abuse of power, the terrible health conditions in his jails, the racial profiling of Latinos, as well as the mismanagement of money by the sheriff’s office, this got him mad.
After discovering that Jim Larkin and Michael Lacy were arrested for uncovering the truth about how Arpaio had issued grand jury subpoenas for the identities of the Phoenix Times readers, editors, and writers, there was a national outcry to have them released. After they were let out, a long battle in court occurred, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the arrest was illegal and against what the First Amendment stands for. Eventually $3.7 million was ordered as a settlement, and it was Maricopa County who paid it to Jim Larkin and Michael Lacy.
Instead of keeping the money for themselves, Larkin and Lacey decided to set up the Frontera Fund with it. The Frontera Fund is an organization that supports other organizations who stand up for the rights of Latinos and the Hispanic community, which has had to face plenty of racism and abuses of civil rights. Jim Larkin commented that he was raised to help those who had been dealt a tough hand in life and that he believes there is no other group as deserving as the immigrants who come from Mexico.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin Fight for Change
Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County Sheriff, was finally convicted of contempt of court charges in 2017. His victims and opposition weren’t able to celebrate for long, Donald Trump pardoned him just before sentencing. President Trump allowed the single most corrupt person in Arizona to walk free.
Arpaio’s victims are not going to just sit back and watch this injustice take place. Two of Arpaio’s victims, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, are doing everything in their power to stop Arpaio in his future political ventures. Lacey and Larkin, as journalists, have the power that most of Arpaio’s victims don’t have.
Since winning a multi million dollar lawsuit and selling their newspaper The Phoenix New Times, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have created a couple of new organizations.
The first of these organizations is the Frontera Fund, a charity that works to right the wrongs committed by Joe Arpaio. The Frontera Fund accomplishes this by partnering with such charitable organizations as 1070, American Immigration Council and Aliento. Lacey and Larkin are working primarily with charities that assist the Hispanic Community because these are the people that suffered the most from the corrupt former sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
The other organization formed by Lacey and Larkin is Front Page Confidential. I left leaning newspaper that works to inform its readers about progressive change, immigration issues and other corrupt politicians like Joe Arpaio.
Some Arizonians may have already forgotten how much pain Arpaio has caused the community, but Larkin and Lacey will never forget. As journalists, they are doing everything they can to stop Arpaio and others like him from representing the American people.