Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are two journalists in the State of Arizona. They made national headlines in 2007 when they were illegal arrested by Joe Arpaio; the story was picked up by such prestigious publications ss The New York Times and The Washington Post
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin originally got together during an effort to create a college newspaper. Their intention was to combat the school’s right wing views concerning student-protests. The paper was so successful, the two journalists dropped out to enter into the newspaper industry. Eventually, they purchased The Phoenix New Times.
“We were a constant thorn in his side,” said Larkin, referring to his journalistic efforts against Joe Arpaio. The duo had been investing Joe Arpaio for quite a long time, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when The Phoenix New Times published an article that revealed the details of court documents.
Arpaio had a special task force pull the journalists from their home. They were transported to separate facilities, but they were released once the county saw the national attention they were getting.
In retaliation, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin filed a lawsuit, that they eventually won, against Maricopa County the county where Arpaio served as Sheriff.
2007 wasn’t just the year Arpaio decided to violate journalists’ first amendment rights. He also illegally arrested a Mexican citizen. The Mexican vacationer sued Arpaio as well. Arpaio has cost tax payers of Maricopa County nearly 100 million dollars during his time as sheriff. This lawsuit eventually led to Arpaio being charged with criminal contempt of court. Victims of Arpaio were finally set to receive their justice.
Donald Trump put a stop to their celebration three months after the conviction. He extended a pardon to Arpaio, a political ally, and Arpaio accepted.
Michael Lacey attributes the pardoning to political synergy. Donald Trump, with his pardon, showed to his supporters that he was on their side. “Trump’s approval rating is down around 30 percent,” Lacey explained. “That 30 percent is going to like what he did.” Lacey believes that Trump and Arpaio share a very large fanbase. by pardoning Arpaio, Trump believes it will enable him to hold onto the supporters he has left.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin couldn’t just sit around and let atrocities like this happen. With the money from the settlement, the duo have created a couple of new entities.
The first is a charitable foundation that assist the citizens of Arizona and surrounding areas. With the help of Lacey and Larkin’s Frontera Fund, charities such as ACLU of Arizona and Aliento are doing everything in their power to improve the lives of the immigrant community: the primary target of Arpaio.
Lacey and Larkin are doing what they can to influence the upcoming midterm elections as well. They want to stop corrupt and immoral politicians from participating in politics. Their new paper, Front Page Confidential, publishes content that exposes politicians and their unjust actions.