Arizona journalists Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were using their position as co-owners of the Village Voice media outlet to try and make Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio a national figure and focal point of shame.
Larkin and Lacey ran stories about Arpaio and his deputies regular violation of civil and even human rights in the performance of their duty, specifically aimed against anyone who was, or appeared to be, Latino. From racial profiling to illegal detention, mistreatment of prisoners to illegal search and seizure, the Maricopa County sheriff’s office was accused of a variety of crimes in the press. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
The nation wasn’t paying too much attention until Arpaio, thinking he had the answer to his Larkin and Lacey problem, ordered the two journalists arrested. He charged them with interfering in a Grand Jury investigation after Larkin and Lacey had ran a story about a secret Grand Jury that Arpaio had formed on false pretenses. Unknown to both men, the Grand Jury was actually formed to help Arpaio find- or invent- a reason to imprison the two and stop their attempts to expose Arpaio and his department.
With their jailing for exercising their rights under the first amendment, Larkin and Lacey got the attention they wanted on Arpaio. All it took was 24 days being imprisoned illegally, and the country was turning against Arpaio.
A judge dismissed all charges against Larkin and Lacey and set them free, also disbanding the Grans Jury they had reported on that was investigating them. After their release Larkin and Lacey sued the county, winning a sizable settlement. They used this settlement money to begin Frontera Fund, a civil rights advocacy non-profit focused on defending the first amendment rights of Latinos.
Arpaio was voted out of office in 2016, eventually facing charges himself. He was found guilty on several counts. However, before his sentencing, President Donald Trump used his pardoning power to set Arpaio free. Arpaio has since entered the national political scene, running for the Senate seat most recently held by John McCain.
Larkin and Lacey continue on as journalists, focusing much of their attention on defending the first amendment and speaking out against Arpaio and others like him. They staunchly oppose his Senate run, countering his struggling rallies and bogus claims with fact-checks and proof. It is their determination that the people of Arizona never forget Arpaio’s proven record of discrimination and bigotry.