On October 18, 2007, with blatant disregard for the constitutional rights of all Americans, Sheriff Joe Arpaio ordered the arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The media executives were dragged out of their Phoenix homes by armed deputies, forced into unmarked vehicles bearing Mexican license plates and taken to separate jails in Maricopa County.
Anyone who witnessed the arrest of Lacey and Larkin would assume the two were dangerous fugitives involved in drug trafficking or terrorism. It would later come as a shock to those witnesses when they learned the real reason the two men had been arrested: for exercising their first amendment rights.
Joe Arpaio served as Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona for 24 years. During that time Arpaio terrorized immigrants, intimidated the press and political rivals and advocated for the systematic abuse of prisoners detained in Arizona prisons. Lacey and Larkin used their popular political and social platform, Phoenix News Times, to expose Arpaio’s abuse of power. Outraged, Arpaio issued illegally obtained subpoenas that demanded the personal information of writers, editors and readers of the Phoenix News Times including IP addresses and browsing histories. When Lacy and Larkin wrote about the subpoenas, they were subsequently arrested by Arpaio’s infamous Selective Enforcement Unit.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were released from prison within 24 hours after Americans around the nation expressed their outrage. The case was eventually thrown out and Lacy and Larkin eventually received a $3.7 million settlement from Maricopa County.
The settlement money was used to launch Frontera Fund. Frontera Fund supports organizations that benefit the Hispanic community. The causes Frontera Fund supports are nonprofits that deal mainly with Hispanic civil rights.
As for Joe Arpaio, he was eventually convicted of criminal contempt. The fact that he was recently pardoned of all charges by President Trump shows how badly America needs foundations like Frontera Fund.
Post-Settlement, Larkin and Lacey Give Back to Arizona
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have left their previous paper, The Phoenix New Times, behind in order to start a new publication. With the money obtained from the sale and the money obtained from a lawsuit, the former owners of New Times have created Front Page Confidential.
The lawsuit stems from the 2007 illegal arrest of the two journalists. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who at the time was the target of investigative journalism by the paper, sent his deputies to arrest Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Unless you are Joe Arpaio, you are already aware that arresting someone for what they say in a newspaper is a clear violation of the first amendment. Arpaio was unable to make the charges stick and instead he costs tax payers of Maricopa County millions of dollars.
The journalistic duo have plans for their new publication. Unlike their previous paper, their new paper has one goal in mind: preventing corrupt politicians from oppressing the populace. Front Page Confidential publishes stories about instances of civil rights violations and other crimes perpetrated by elected officials.
Lacey and Larkin were not the only victims of the corrupt former sheriff. The entire Hispanic community knows exactly what Arpaio is capable of. Arpaio has previously admitted to using racial profiling to determine who was a criminal. In 1993 he also created a self proclaimed concentration camp to keep prisoners in, his reason for such a heinous act was to combat prison overpopulation. Prisoners have died and committed suicide while under the care of Joe Arpaio.
It is for this reason Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin also created The Frontera Fund. A fundraising organization that donates resources to charities that go on to assist the Hispanic community in Arizona.