In the waning hours of October 18, 2007, two Journalist were arrested for nothing more than their criticism of a local Sherriff. These Journalists were Mike Lacey and Jim Lark and they often wrote pieces that highlighted the corruption of the local Sherriff, Joe Arpaio. For their great crime of pointing out the injustices carried out by “America’s Toughest Sherriff” They were arrest separately in their homes and carted off in unmarked SUV’s with Mexican license plates. From there they were booked into different jails and spent a little less than 24 hours behind bars. This expedited release was due to the realization of wrongdoing but rather the reaction of an outraged public.
Sherriff Arpaio was used to getting what he wanted. Many news outlets in the area overlooked his conduct, making it much easier to abuse his power as he pleased. When the Phoenix New Times began covering his misconduct he made them his personal enemies. The news outlet reported on things such as Arpaio’s role in fostering anti-Mexican attitudes as well as the racial profiling done by police. The Sherriff also had a plethora of financial irregularities and a bad habit of using his force in a retaliatory nature. Prisons under Arpaio’s guidance often engaged in the inhumane treatment of inmates. In the quest to be tough on crime he chose to target specifically Latinos detaining them in order to check their immigration status.
Not interested in letting these stories catch more attention, the Sherriff began harassing the paper hoping to intimidate them into silence. He began with a subpoena that ordered the release of private information on the staff or the paper as well as its readers. The sheriff hoped to get things like IP addresses and search histories that he could mine for causes to arrest his detractors. The Phoenix New Times was not bowing to his will however and instead elected to run a story on the incident. This enraged Sherriff Arpaio so he fell on his tried and true tricks of corruption and had the Journalist arrested to further intimidate them. This plan ultimately leads to the nation learning of his behaviors and Lacey and Larkin sued for the violation. His conduct was ruled as a direct violation of the constitution and won the pair a settlement of 3.7 Million dollars. In an effort to support the victims of Arpaio the settlement was put into the Frontera Fund where it supports Mexican immigrants.
Lacey and Larkin Help Arizona Move On
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, like many residents of Maricopa County, are victims of former sheriff Joe Arpaio.
In 1993, newly elected Arpaio was accused of being responsible for the death of a prisoner in his custody who died of heat exhaustion in a tent that reached temperatures of over 120 degrees.
Despite being responsible for the death of an inmate in 1993, his biggest year of corruption may have been 2007. In this year he was sued by two different parties for unlawful arrests.
A Mexican citizen, who was visiting Arizona legal, was arrested by Arpaio because of the color of his skin. Arpaio has confessed to using racial profiling techniques when he decides to make an arrest. The incident ended with Arpaio being ordered to cease arresting people for suspected immigration crime. Arpaio ignored the orders and was charged and convicted for contempt. Before he could be sentenced, President Donald Trump pardoned him.
The same year, Joe Arpaio made an illegal arrest that was based on his self preservation rather than racial hatred. When Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin published content that was harmful to Arpaio’s image, Arpaio violated their first amendment rights by arresting them.
Instances like the two above are why Lacey and Larkin have founded their two new organization. One is a newspaper and one is a charity meant to assist the Latino community.
The Frontera Fund raises money to go towards charitable causes relating to immigration reform and migrant-rights.
Front Page Confidential is a newspaper that publishes content about politics and civil rights.
By using these two organization, Lacey and Larkin may be able to create real change in their community. They may be able to help Maricopa County and the rest of the State get passed the embarrassment that was Joe Arpaio.