Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey are no fans of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The two newspaper men had a run in with the sheriff several years ago that they won’t soon forget.
On the night of Oct. 17, 2007, an outraged Arpaio sent members of his Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit to their homes. The men were handcuffed, tossed into the back of black SUVs and driven away.
The illegal arrest, ordered by Arpaio, was because they released information regarding a grand jury investigation against Arpaio and his sheriff’s office.
Larkin and Lacey, both Village Voice Media executives, ruffled old Joe’s feathers. It seems that the thin-skinned “Worst Sheriff in America” couldn’t take the heat after the Phoenix New Time revealed a laundry list of shocking and outrageous actions that have gone on since he was elected in 1992.
This week, the Phoenix New Times revisits the horror that was Joe Arpaio, via a story written by Stephen Lemons of Front Page Confidential. Lacey and Larkin’s decade-long battle with the sheriff was the stuff nightmares are made of. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/
Lemon’s story is a recapping of 24 years of racism, racial profiling, mismanagement and debauchery. Among Arpaio’s greatest hits: shackling mothers to their beds during childbirth, inmates forced to live in the infamous tent city with sweltering temperatures of 120 degrees, the death of detainees and ordering deputies to harass political foes and anyone else who defied him.
His most infamous acts of villainy: the illegal arrests of Larkin and Lacey and his utter disrespect and contempt for Latinos and others citizens with brown skin. Ironically, it was his racist views against Latinos that ultimately led to his undoing. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the arrests of Lacey and Larkin were in clear violation of the First Amendment. Five years later, the journalists won a lawsuit against Maricopa County for $3.75 million.
Instead of pocketing the money, the men used the funds to open the Frontera Fund. This non-profit works to uphold the rights of Latinos and migrants.
As for Arpaio, he did not win a seventh term as Maricopa County Sheriff. In fact, he lost to Democrat Paul Penzone, who ran on a platform of cleaning up the County Sheriff’s Office.
Although Arpaio was charged with a contempt charge, he evaded prison time when he was pardoned by Donald Trump.
Arpaio has thrown his hat into the ring to run for the Senate. Many don’t give him much of a chance.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Fighting For the Immigrants Rights
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were the previous heads of New Times Media. These two journalists found that they often bumped heads with the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. Jim and Michael used to publish articles that addressed the crimes that the sheriff was involved in. The peak of their disagreement happened about ten years ago when Joe ordered for the arrest of the two journalists from their homes using unmarked police cars. The two were then booked into separate jails, both of which were managed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Larkin and Lacey were detained illegally and had their First Amendment Rights violated. The newsmen then engaged in a lengthy legal battle with the sheriff, and it was ruled that there was no probable cause for their arrest. This eventually led to a 3.75 million dollar settlement to the two journalists.
The money that the newsmen got from the settlement was used to establish the nonprofit organization, Frontera Fund. The organization aims to uphold the rights of the immigrants and the migrants in Arizona. This organization supports other groups that fight for the rights of the Hispanics and Latinos. Frontera Fund has also managed to help the Latinos and Hispanics who have undergone the discrimination of law enforcement and public officials. As Arpaio was pardoned by president Trump, it is now up to such organizations to fight against the legacy he has. Though the former sheriff might not get any prison time, organizations like the Frontera Fund have helped in undoing some of the damage that he caused.
Lacey and Larkin have also decided to make a return to journalism. They have launched an online website, Front Page Confidential. The site aims at covering the threats to the First Amendment and free speech. The two newsmen have vowed to speak out for the voiceless people in the society fearlessly.