Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, co-founders of the Phoenix New Times, were floored when they learned that Sheriff Joe Arpaio received only a 6-month sentence during a case centered around the massive racial profiling of Latinos. What puzzled them even more, was the fact that this sentence was not as a result of his crime, but of his not following the judge’s instructions.
The light sentence only added insult to injury in the Melendres v. Arpaio class action case. Though the Maricopa county citizens were awarded $70 million, they would later learn that Arpaio had been pardoned by Donald Trump and would not have to serve any of that 6-month sentence.
Whether his pardon was due to Arpaio backing Trump during his election or Trump wanting to gain the vote of Arpaio’s supporters, Larkin is impressed by the former sheriff’s political acumen.
However, what he is not impressed by is Arpaio’s 24-year tenure as Maricopa County’s sheriff in which time he managed to illegally divert over $100 million in jail funds, misuse his authority for the purpose of investigating his critics and rivals, treat prisoners to molded and rotting food, and be the cause of all manner of wrongful deaths. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://twitter.com/JimLarkin_ and http://james-larkin.com/press/
Larkin and Lacey dedicated much of their time letting the public know about Arpaio’s corruption, much like they had done while attending Arizona State University. The two were angry about the 1970 Kent State killings, so they started their own campus paper. It grew into a coast-to-coast chain; Village Voice Media was comprised of 17 publications.
Larkin and Lacey no longer own Village Voice Media; they sold it. However, before they could leave the journalism industry, the two would be the center of their very own headlines as well as many others across the nation.
Arpaio had grown tired of their investigative habits and saw an opportunity to strike. One of their investigative reporters wrote an article about the sheriff’s illegal ownership of commercial property, worth $700,000. In this article, he included the sheriff’s home address. Upon learning of this, Arpaio applied a statute which deemed the publishing of an offer’s address as a felony. And he pressed charges against the reporter. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
After receiving the subpoena and just before trial, Larkin and Lacey published an article about the unconstitutional abuse of power as well as the unconstitutional details of the subpoena, one being that they should never discuss the details of the subpoena.
Since they had violated the terms of the subpoena, both men were arrested by members of Arpaio’s deputized, plain-clothed posse. However, when the news spread nationwide, Maricopa’s county attorney was forced to close the case and Larkin and Lacey were awarded $3.75 million by the county.
The two have returned to journalism. Their newest publication is the Front Page Confidential. It is a website which is dedicated free speech and the first amendment. They used their $3.75 million to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund which gives grants to organizations that work with migrant-rights across Arizona.
Stand For Freedom Of Speech Like Michael Lacey And Jim Larkin
How does slavery begin? Well, one of the simplest ways that dictate and characterizes slavery is lack of freedom of speech. The little shutdown and threats that people experience whenever they speak freely can advance and affect their future rights to speaking freely if people don’t arise against such harassment. Some of the legends which cannot sit and watch the canoe of freedom of speech draining are Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. A decade ago, an attempt to shut down the mouths of these two executives who were by then working with Village Voce Media that was publishing Phoenix New Times, was underway. The mastermind behind the whole ordeal was Joe Arpaio and his team, who was known to be the toughest American Sherriff. Arpaio was involved in so many malpractices and abuse of his Maricopa County Office but the worst was the discrimination and racism he was expressing towards Latino and Mexican migrants.
This Sherriff has been summoned severally by the court to stop his racism but could loosen the thread. It reached to an extent that he threatened any media house and newspapers that covered his story. This is where Lacey and Larkin came in and fearlessly started publishing about this cruel Sherriff. To fix the capstone the two executives exposed Arpaio’s grand jury meant to gather information about all writers, editors, and readers of the New Times newspaper. The story was a real hit in the streets and this angered Sherriff and ordered the arrest of Lacey and Larkin from their Phoenix homes hence violating their First Amendment rights. Within 24 hours, the pressure was too much and they were released from the separate jails they were in. They fought for their rights and filed a lawsuit which they won and were paid $3.75 million which they used in forming Frontera Fund which gives grants to organizations which fight for migrants’ rights especially Hispanics and Latinos. Later they founded a website that covers free speech threats known as FrontPage Confidential. Fight for your freedom of speech.