In October 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by the deputies of the Maricopa sheriff well known as the “Selective Enforcement Unit.” The two founders of the Village Voice Media were forced out of their homes located in Phoenix. They were later pushed into black SUVs which had Mexican number plates and jailed separately in cells which were managed by Joe Arpaio. This arrest was carried out by Arpaio who was known to be the toughest and youngest sheriff in America.
The two were put into custody due to the information they had spread through their media about the sheriff’s poor governance and misdeeds. Joe Arpaio was accused of fostering the anti-Mexican fear mongering and also posturing politics through his capacity as a sheriff in Arizona. The duo had also published about office mismanagement and financial irregularities in the Sheriff’s office through the New York Times. The unhealthy conditions of the Arpaio jails and torturing to death of the inmates were also exposed. Joe Arpaio was also accused of practicing racism among the Latin American.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were also involved in the publishing of a story of how Arpaio had violated the Constitution. With effect to this, Arpaio and his friends in the attorney’s office of Maricopa sought for a grand jury subpoenas for the details of the two media persons. However, Michael and Jim did not honor the subpoenas but instead wrote about it. The arrest caused unrest among the loyal patriots of the nation and due to their loud cry, the two were released, and all charges against them were dropped immediately. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey also filed a lawsuit against their arrest based on abuse of power and the first amendment rights. In 2012, the court of appeals also criticized the arrest due to the violation of the amendment bill. The ninth circuit also noted that the grand jury subpoenas were illegal since the attorney had not followed the right legal procedures.
The outcome of the case favored Jim and Michael, and they were entitled to get $3.7 million settlement amount from the Maricopa County. This money was used by the duo to establish the Frontera Fund which was to fight against racism and civil rights abuse around the Hispanic community. In 2014 when the elections were heating up, the Frontera Fund was also used to fund nonprofit organizations that advocated for the rights of Mexican immigrants.
Lacey and Larkin’s New Publication – Front Page Confidential
Most people would be happy to put a difficult lawsuit in their past and continue on with their lives, not Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. After their unlawful arrest, their lawsuit and then a 3.75 million dollar settlement, Lacey and Larkin have decided to continue fighting against their oppressor: Joe Arpaio
Lacey and Larkin have created two new organizations to become their catalyst against Joe Arpaio and others like him.
Joe Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court in the Summer of 2017. Had it not been for being offered a pardon by President Trump, Arpaio would have most likely been sentenced to six months in prison.
Arpaio’s criminal activities do not stop there, many say. In 1993, he employed a self proclaimed concentration camp to house prisoners and more recently he violated Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin’s Constitutional Rights. Arpaio arrested them for publishing a story concerning his illegal activities in The Phoenix New Times.
As previously mentioned, the two journalists walked away with a hefty settlement, but what they did with the money is the more impressive feat. The two journalists created Front Page Confidential and The Frontera Fund.
Front Page Confidential became their prime publication after they sold off The Phoenix New Times. Unlike their previous paper, the new one will focus on particular issues such as civil rights and politics.
The other organization, The Frontera Fund, is a fundraising organization that sponsors causes relating to immigration, civil rights, and migrant rights.
By using The Frontera Fund and Front Page Confidential, the two victims of Arpaio, after seeing the damage done by the former sheriff, wish to right those wrongs. They are using the two new organizations to better the community and to prevent politicians such as Arpaio from getting away with immoral and illegal actions.