Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey and the Fight for Right

A 2018 story on the website The News Version perfectly describes the ordeal of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. When the incident took place in 2007, these two were top executives and investigative reporters at the Village Voice in Arizona. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/

Larkin and Lacey began to report extensively on the aggressive law enforcement tactics by sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio billed himself as the toughest sheriff in America but he in fact used racial profiling to unlawfully detain Mexicans and other Latinos.

He was particularly tough on immigrants and women to the point where he would detain them under the category of suspicion. Even a ruling by a US Court that this practice was unconstitutional did not stop Arpaio.

As the abuses of power continued, Larkin and Lacey started to make the situation public through their stories. Arpaio sought to put an end to the negative publicity and so he convened a grand jury to investigate Larkin and Lacey and their work in the Phoenix News Times.

When the two reporters wrote about the workings of that grand jury, they were arrested. But this was no ordinary arrest. Arpaio sent Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit officers in unmarked cars with Mexican license plates to take the reporters from their home and detain them in two separate Arpaio owned prisons.

Arpaio reported that Larkin and Lacey were arrested because they disclosed details about the grand jury investigation but the arrest was quickly deemed a violation of first amendment rights and the two were soon released. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia

They filed a lawsuit against Arpaio which was finally settled for $3.7 million in 2013. They used this money to establish the Frontera Fund, a non-profit organization that helps Latinos and other members of society protect their First Amendment and civil rights.

In the meantime, they kept writing about his abuses of power, the substandard conditions in his prisons, the mistreatment and even deaths of inmates, and the unconstitutional detention of Latinos.

The work of Larkin and Lacey raised Joe Arpaio’s behavior to a national level. Additional lawsuits were filed against Arpaio and he began losing ground on multiple fronts. He did not win re-election and in 2017 he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for continuing to ignore cease and desist orders.

However, he still had powerful supporters who referred to him as eccentric and a patriot fighting illegal immigration. Evidence of this support became obvious when he was pardoned by Donald Trump.

Some say Trump’s action was due to Arpaio’s support during the presidential campaign but Lacey commented that it was more likely the result of Trump’s attempt to keep his nationalist base happy.

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