The fight for justice and freedom of expression

Joe Arpaio was the Sheriff of Maricopa County in 2007 and he led the unit that arrested and detained Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. The two who were arrested lived in Phoenix and they worked for Village Voice Media. They were later separated and booked into different rooms in jail. Joe Arpaio conducted the arrest because of the news that had been published by Phoenix New Times about his misconducts. He had encouraged an anti-Mexican movement that fostered fear among the immigrants. His political endeavors in Arizona had also been questioned in the article published.

Joe had nicknamed himself the toughest sheriff in America but this was not the case according to the newspaper articles that were written at the time. Phoenix New Times exposed the mismanagement that was present in the Sheriff’s office at the time and how their financials were not adding up. Further to these, he was also accused of maintaining low health standards in the jails, he abused his power by mistreating inmates while others even died. He conducted and encouraged racism, unlawful arrests and detentions and was very selective on the type of persecutions he authorized.

Jim and Mike found themselves in the eyes of Joe Arpaio when they captured and wrote a story for the Phoenix New Times. The story encompassed how Joe had issued an order to the jury wanting to find out about the people who write, edit and read this newspaper in particular. Joe wanted a list of names, IP addresses and internet logs of these individuals. Jim and Mike wrote the story about Joe and his demands instead of giving up the information they had been requested for and this is why they were arrested. The Duo was released in less than a day after the public demands were met.

Instead of letting go of the situation, they sued Joe for his power abuse and this led to a long court case that matured into a 3.7 million dollars settlement, from the Maricopa County. Jim and Mike decided to channel the money to a project that benefited the Hispanic community. They began the Frontera Fund which stands up for civil rights of people and fights against any form of racism in Arizona. The Frontera Fund has played a big part in Arizona to provide a fair and just society. They supported organizations that fought for the Hispanic groups even when politicians tried to pull the Arpaio card during the midterm elections in 2014.