It happened more than 10 years, but not very many people know about it. The Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit agents knocked on the door of two Phoenix area homes. One home belonged to Jim Larkin.
The other home belonged to his co-publisher, Michael Lacey. The agents were sent by order for the then-sheriff Joe Arpaio. Lacey and Larkin were arrested and charged with undisclosed criminal charges.
Lacey and Larkin were Reporters Seeking the Truth When Arrested
Lacey and Larkin were involved in the Village Voice Media newspaper. Lacey was the executive editor. Larkin was the CEO.
The day of the arrest, they published an article discussing a grand jury investigation at one of their newspapers, the Phoenix New Times. At that time Larkin and Lacey had no idea they were the subject of the investigation. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Former Sheriff Arpaio May have Possible Held a Long Grudge against the Men
Arpaio had been frustrated by the men’s increased coverage of how he did his job as sheriff. He did not like being seen as using aggressive law enforcement tactics for example. In another example in 2011, Arpaio was charged with violating Latino and other immigrant group’s rights.
This was when Larkin and Lacey began writing about the sheriff and exposing what went on in his jail. Much of the news they covered about Arpaio was not covered by the mainstream media.
Lacey and Larkin Spent 24 Hours in County Jail after Their Arrest
They were illegally detained. Their First Amendment Rights were violated. In a news conference, the county attorney announced he would not pursue any charges against the two men.
They took their fight to court. In a 2012 ruling, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals. The court ruled police had no probable cause to make the arrest. Maricopa County paid the men $3.75 million for the unlawful arrest. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737 and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
The Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund Seeks to Restore Justice
The men decided to create a fund to help support non-profit groups. These non-profit organizations actively support Latinos and Hispanics. It also grants gives grant money to migrant-rights organizations.
In addition to creating the found, the men have returned to journalism. They’ve launched the Front Page Confidential, a website devoted to covering free speech and First Amendment threats.
Apraio was not re-elected as sheriff. In 2017, he was arrested for contempt in court for his actions during a court case. He was going to be sentenced in jail. However, prior to the sentence, President Trump gave him a pardon.