Lacey and Larkin Establish Frontera Fund

It’s rare to hear about successful people being dragged from their homes in the middle of the night by law enforcement.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Village Voice Media co-founders, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. Their investigative reporting about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio resulted in their arrest in October 2007. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: https://about.me/michael-lacey

After weeks of harassment at the hands of the sheriff, Lacey and Larkin finally got enough proof to publish a story about the sheriff’s use of grand jury subpoenas. Sheriff Arpaio even used a grand jury warrant to arrest the two reporters.

On October 18, 2007, Arpaio sent his top deputies to arrest Lacey and Larkin. The arrest, instigated by Arpaio’s own agenda, seemed more like a kidnapping. The deputies of the “Selective Enforcement Unit” hit the two executives’ homes in the middle of the night and dragged them out in handcuffs.

They forced the two men into unmarked SUVs, which looked nothing like unmarked law enforcement vehicles and taken to separate jails. The SUVs in question not only had extremely dark tinted windows, they also had Mexican license plates. The dramatizing event eventually led to Lacey and Larkin filing a lawsuit against Maricopa County.

Even before the arrest, Sheriff Arpaio crossed the line numerous times while trying to bring down Lacey and Larkin’s paper. Most shocking was his use of subpoenas and warrants which he used to try to force the two executives to hand over all their notes and materials on him.

Those same warrants proved to be counterfeit, as they were signed by a vengeful prosecutor who bypassed legal procedure. The most despicable warrant demanded the names and personal information of Phoenix New Time’s writers, editors, and even their readers. Sheriff Arpaio has a history of making things personal and going after anyone who he feels has disrespected him.

The stories published by New Times about the sheriff involved his rampant abuse of power. While most in the Phoenix area believed Arpaio to be a good guy, his actions tell a different. There were numerous financial irregularities and he was known for his mistreatment of jail inmates and local Latinos. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia

The lawsuit filed against Maricopa County was settled 2013. The two men were awarded $3.75 million, which they used to start the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund goes toward supporting local civic rights groups.

 

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