Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have always covered the stories that don’t receive a lot of coverage from major news organizations. It all began in the 1970s when the duo dropped out of Arizona State University and started the publication known as Phoenix New Times. Decades later, Lacey and Larkin covered a piece that brought attention to the criminal behavior of Joe Arpaio.
At the time, Arpaio held the position of Maricopa County Sheriff. With support from the ultra-conservative political community, Arpaio violated the rights of women and minorities. He specifically targeted the Latino community. Around this time, a lawsuit was filed against Arpaio for the crimes against humanity committed at his infamous Tent City. Arpaio received little exposure for all this cruel behavior until Lacey and Larkin stepped in.
In 2007, Lacey and Larkin were taken from their homes and arrested. Their crime was writing a piece that talked about the investigation of a grand jury. Unknowingly, the same grand jury was investigating them. The men were illegally detained and the scandal received a wide-range of coverage from news sources.
Lacey and Larkin were awarded $3.7 million in a suit against Arpaio, but more importantly, they drew attention to the criminality of Arpaio’s actions. In addition, the majority of the settlement went into the creation of the Frontera Fund, which supports the Latin American community in Arizona.
The organization supports initiatives that fight for the civil rights and protection of Latin Americans, a much-needed service in a state where they are so vulnerable. It is one of the largest efforts to combat systemic abuse against Latino people in Arizona. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Twitter
After the incident, coverage of Arpaio’s offenses led to his demise. He was not re-elected to his position as sheriff in 2016. However, he will not pay for his crimes either. In 2017, he was charged with criminal contempt, but Donald Trump pardoned him for this offense.
Regardless, the behavior Arpaio got away with for so long is no longer simply being accepted and overlooked. With organizations like the Frontera Fund, vulnerable communities will not be taken advantage of anymore.
Ultimately, without honest journalism, Arpaio may have never been brought down at all. Fortunately, Lacey and Larkin have launched another initiative to protect free speech called the Front Page Confidential.
Lacey and Larkin continue to undeniably express their support more migrants and push back against the rhetoric aimed towards harming marginalized populations.