Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey will go down the history lane as two men who fearlessly fought for Latino rights in the State of Arizona. For more than 10 years, these two fought who today can be referred to as the worst ever sheriff in American history, Joe Arpaio.
Their decade-long feud with Joe Arpaio dated way back in 1992 when they exposed his department’s outrageous injustices starting from the day Joe was elected as a Sheriff in Phoenix Arizona.
By then, the two used to work for Village Voice Media Group. Jim was the company’s CEO while Lacey was the executive editor. Together they did publications on human rights violation against the Latinos in Phoenix News Time.
In 2007 Phoenix News Time Learned of a conspiracy against them by Joe’s allies in the office the county attorney. They had issued a grand jury subpoena where they had requested information about the paper’s editors.
The jury also wanted the names of people who read New Times stories. When Jim and Michael learned about this, instead of on being cowed, they went ahead and published the story.
Upon release, the story spread like a bush fire in Arizona. This led to Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey October 18th, 2007 home invasion by Arpaio’s infamous Selective Enforcement Unit. The two were illegally detained in separate jails but their detention lasted less than a day. This was due to the backlash their detention brought in Phoenix.
A long protracted legal battle pitting them and Arpaio ended in 2012 with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruling in their favor. The court found the two to have been arrested without a probable cause. This resulted in Maricopa County paying the two a settlement to their lawsuit worth $3.75 million.
Last year, might go down as a year not to remember for Arpaio as it saw him lose his seventh reelection bid as well as being convicted of criminal contempt. His conviction was celebrated by many rights activists through their celebration didn’t last long as President Trump pardoned his old friend. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Jim Larkin | LinkedIn
Though Arpaio didn’t pay for all the evils he committed against these two, many Latinos enjoy equal rights as American citizens. This is as a result of the fight these two fearless journalists put against discrimination.
Instead of using the money they got as a settlement for their own use, Jim and Michael decided to give back to the community and opened Lacey and Larkin Frontera fund.
The purpose of the organization is to support non-profit rights groups which fight and support the rights of Latinos and Hispanics. Today, the fund has helped many Latinos who have been discriminated by public officials in one way or another.
Michael and Jim’s love of information have led them to return to journalism. Together they have launched Front Page Confidential. This is a website that is covering threats to free speech and the First Amendment. For them, the price of true journalism came at a price which for them, they were willing to pay.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:
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.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/