Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey – Notable Critics of Joe Arpaio
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, two outspoken critics of the infamous former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, were enjoying an evening in their homes on October 18th, 2007 when they were forcibly removed and taken away in handcuffs at the hands of the aforementioned sheriff. They were each taken to separate jails that were run by Arpaio. The pair had regularly used their media platform, Phoenix New Times, to report on the self proclaimed, “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” Their stories reported details about Arpaio’s civil rights violations that include unlawful detainment of Latinos,and poor health conditions and abuse of inmates at the jails he was in charge of. Arpaio made no attempts to hide his malice or racists views and eventually lost re-election for county sheriff to a democrat.
Lacey and Larkin were arrested for their coverage of Maricopa County’s flagrant rebuff of the United States Constitution when they issued grand jury subpoenas requesting the personal information of the Phoenix New Times’ employees and readers, to which Lacey and Larkin would not, and should not have complied. The outrageous charges were dropped shortly after the arrest, but Lacey and Larkin would then commence a court battle that would argue that Maricopa County had abused their power and infringed upon the journalists’ First Amendment rights.
The court ruled in favor of Lacey and Larkin and the pair were awarded a settlement of $3.7 million. After seeing first hand the abuses of power present in Maricopa County and confident that Arpaio did not represent the views of the majority of Arizonans, Lacey and Larkin vowed to use their settlement money to create the Frontera Fund. The Frontera Fund is an organization that is committed to helping the victims of Arpaio and the racist atmosphere created in Maricopa County and all over the country. The Frontera Fund supports groups that aim to help bring justice for immigrants who suffer civil rights violations and help undocumented immigrants on a path towards citizenship. Some of the groups supported by the Frontera Fund include the American Civil Liberties Union – Arizona, American Immigration Council, Arizona Justice Project and Promise Arizona.