On the evening of October 18, 2007, armed sheriffs, known as Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s frightening Selective Enforcement Unit from Maricopa County, strong-armed Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin and thrust them into unmarked black SUVs.
The two men that were taken from their Phoenix homes were Village Voice Media executives.
They were charged and placed into separate jails run by Arpaio.
The whole scheme was planed and implemented by Sherriff Arpaio.
The man who had proclaimed himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff, was angry about a story the Phoenix New Times had printed disclosing his improprieties. The newspaper described how he had promoted hatred for Mexicans and use politics to impress others and push his anti agenda.
When the mainstream media heard about Arpaio, they brushed it aside and felt he was just an eccentric character.
After this type of dismissal, Phoenix New Times then wrote about how Sherriff Arpaio was abusing his position in the area of finance and management, which were full of discrepancies. It was reported he would get revenge on his who criticized him.
The jails he controlled were not up to the proper standards. Mistreatment, poor living conditions, unconstitutional detainment of Latinos and even deaths, were common occurrences within his administration.
Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin were apparently taken into custody because Arpaio did not like the story they had written for the Phoenix New Times about how he committed an unbelievable attack on the Constitution.
His assault upon this fundamental law was shown in how his friends at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office issued summons searching for specific details about the browsing habits and IP addresses of the newspaper’s readers, writers and editors.
Instead of giving into the pressure the Attorney’s Office was forcing upon them, Lacey and Larkin wrote about what was happening. When inmates would ask why they were in jail, Larkin would answer, for writing.
A protest about the unfair situation lead to both of them being released within 24 hours and all the charges were dismissed.
The illegal lockup of Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin resulted in a long court battle about the First Amendments and their rights versus individuals abusing their power.
In 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the officials involved had directed a tremendous attack upon their critics.
Later on in 2013, Lacey and Larkin would receive a $3.7 million dollar settlement from Maricopa County.
Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin knew exactly what they would do with the money. They would reserved the money to fund the Frontera Fund, an organization that focuses on assisting Hispanics in Arizona, that have endured racial animosity and human rights abuse.
Larkin and Lacey Spite Arpaio with Charitable Donations
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, after selling their previous newspaper, have created Front Page Confidential. The newspaper’s intention is to provide information concerning first amendment rights violations and other civil rights issues. The paper educates its readers by posting content that is politically focused and personally inspired.
Lacey and Larkin were motivated to create a paper such as Front Page Confidential after their run-in with former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
During their time spent at their previous publication, they were handling the investigation of illegal actions committed by Arpaio. The duo eventually discovered that Arpaio was hiding assets from authorities and promptly reported it in their paper. This article began a chain reaction that eventually led to the unlawful arrest of the two journalists.
Due to the obvious first amendment violation, the former owners of The Phoenix New Times sued the county and won. With the money from selling their paper combined with the 3.75 million dollar settlement they received from the county, the two were able to not only create a new paper but also a charitable fundraiser.
The Frontera Fund was created with the invention of supporting those that Arpaio targeted. Arpaio admitted to using racial profiling as a way to determine if someone was living in Arizona illegally. Arpaio targeted the Hispanic community; Lacey and Larkin intend to correct the wrongs he committed. The Fund provides resources to other charities who provide Arizona residents with information and support that they require.
If Arpaio knew his actions would lead to a charity that assists the Hispanic community, he may have thought twice before engaging in such immoral activities.