Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio came under scrutiny many times while he held office for conducting activities under that office that many deemed controversial and some even illegal. Some of his most polarizing stances were on how he conducted border security and at times was thought to be targeting Mexicans and other Latinos in the Phoenix area.
But he was also famous for endorsing President Trump back when he was in the early stages of his candidacy, and after Trump was elected Arpaio received a pardon from him.
Arpaio had been involved in several legal disputes, and after ignoring a restraining order given to him by a federal judge, many people had hoped to see him jailed including two of his staunchest critics Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and https://www.facebook.com/jimlarkin53
When Trump pardoned Arpaio, Larkin and Lacey immediately expressed their displeasure with that decision and proclaimed that the justice system was failing.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey’s story is about how they’ve used journalism and activism in the Arizona area and even on a national scale. The two men actually began this activism back when they were students at Arizona State University in the 1970s.
They wrote about how the Vietnam War protesters at that time were being misrepresented and their campus newspaper sought to get stories going on at the scene out. They eventually dropped out of school because their newspaper was picking up readers and they saw a chance to make a lot of money running their own news organization. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
This was the beginning of the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media which would have publications spread out across the US and would cover a variety of issues both political and local events.
Larkin and Lacey’s newspaper had quite a few battles with former Sheriff Arpaio since he first took office in 1992, but they came to a head in 2007 when the two men were arrested by the sheriff. A story in the newspaper published information that while legal, Arpaio wanted silenced about the way his office used funds and what it was doing with immigrant deportations.
But what happened next caused a great outcry in Phoenix because Arpaio’s deputies and plainclothesmen arrived in unmarked vehicles in the middle of the night, arrested Larkin and Lacey and confiscated their property. But because the backlash was so hard against Arpaio, he realized he had to let them go and later the district judge said Arpaio was in the wrong for arresting without probable cause.
Larkin and Lacey decided they needed to take the fight against Arpaio to the next step, and after a long drawn-out legal battle, the courts ruled that Arpaio had to pay the two men $3 million in damages.
Larkin and Lacey didn’t just pocket that money though; they used it to start the Frontera fund which contributes to immigrant activist groups and seeks to lobby for fair immigration laws both in Arizona and federally. Lark and Lacey said this organization is just keeping in line with what their parents taught them about being compassionate to those who are different.