Larkin and Lacey admit that they were constant thorns in Sherriff Joe Arpaio’s side. No matter the scandal or expose, the Pheonix New Times was always on top of it.
It had even gotten to the point that their reporters would be threatened with arrest, which was no small threat coming from someone like Arpaio. He had made it a point to go on a smear campaign of anyone who would pose a threat to or stand in the way of his administration.
And a long administration it was–serving over 24 years as the Maricopa County Sheriff. In that time, he had managed to turn his jail into a chamber of horrors. There were wrongful deaths galore, suicides at unprecedented rates and cases of abuse, both physical and sexual.
Not only was the Sheriff considered to be dangerous in the way that he handled the inside of his prison but outside on the streets as well. He would create his own personal posses by deputizing citizens so that they could do his bidding. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
In fact, in Melendres v. Arpaio, he was accused of ordering his plain-clothed posse to round up Latinos to determine whether or not they were in the country legally. The case resulted in a $70 million settlement for the citizens of Maricopa and a contempt charge for the former Sheriff.
Joe Arpaio never served a day of his contempt charge sentence. Donald Trump pardoned him before he could. And this, according to Larkin and Lacey is as a result of his backing the would-be president while others were mocking the very idea.
The two also assume that Trump felt that it would be a good political move to pardon someone that nationalists deemed a hero.
In the same year, Larkin and Lacey were awarded a $3.75 million settlement for their own improper arrest. This arose after the Sheriff took one of the New Times investigative reporters to court for publishing his personal address in an article. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
He claimed that it could have put his safety in jeopardy. However, on the day of the trial, Larkin and Lacey published the subpoena and gave their commentary on how unconstitutional it was–deeming it a breathtaking abuse of the constitution.
The Sheriff responded by sending members of his posse to arrest the two, claiming that the article revealed grand jury secrets. However, their arrests became national news. And the county’s attorney, who happened to be closely aligned with Arpaio was forced to drop the case and free the two,
Though they likely had never personally experienced injustice of that magnitude, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin’s pursuit of justice is what started their career. As students of the University of Arizona, they started a campus paper in response to the Kent State Killings.
They eventually dropped out but the paper grew and became Voice Media with over 17 publications. They have since sold Voice Media, but have started a website called Front Page Confidential. They also used their settlement to start a fund for migrant-rights organizations in Arizona.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: