When Joe Arpaio sent his deputies to arrest journalists Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey on October 18th, 2007 he was trying to prevent them from making him a national name. Unfortunately for Arpaio, the arrests of the two men on overblown charges put him right in the spotlight.
Larkin and Lacey, co-owners of Village Voice, had been reporting on Arpaio for a while. As residents of Arizona they saw his department engage in racial profiling, unlawful searches, illegal arrest, inhumane treatment of inmates and more. Wanting Arpaio’s crimes exposed they began publishing articles about him and his department with the hope of getting national attention on the issue. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/ and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin
Though their newspaper Phoenix New Times the two, in the process of writing all they could about Arpaio, published a story about a secret Grand Jury assembled on the sheriff’s orders and having a dubious reason to exists. While the two journalists did not know why the Grand Jury was formed they had enough for the story.
As it turns out the Grand Jury was formed to investigate Larkin and Lacey themselves. Arpaio was getting scared of their reporting on his Sheriff’s Office and wanted to silence the two by putting them in prison. When they ran the story about their own Grand Jury he charged them with interference in an investigation and threw them in jail with no regard to freedom of the press.
Larkin and Lacey spent 24 days in separate detention centers until they were finally released by a judge who dismissed the charges and dissolved the Grand Jury, citing that it was formed without sufficient cause. Upon release from prison the two journalists sued Maricopa County and were awarded $3.7 million in damages from the settlement.
They used this money to open Frontera Fund, a civil rights group focused primarily on protecting the first amendment rights of Latinos and others. The group is focused on Latinos primarily as they were the demographic most damaged by Arpaio’s policies. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Larkin and Lacey Fruntera Fund | Crunchbase
Arpaio lost his re-election bid for a seventh term as sheriff in 2016. He had been Sheriff since 1992. As Arpaio goes from former sheriff to pardoned criminal to now candidate for U.S. Senate from Arizona, Larkin and Lacey continue to speak out against Arpaio, his record, his belief and his campaign. As the men responsible for bringing Arpaio into the spotlight, Larkin and Lacey haven’t stopped exposing him.