It’s no secret that many emigrants face abuse during and after entering the United States. Sadly, it’s an epidemic that most people aren’t ready to face. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin co-founders of Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media, are ready to face this issue.
In 2007, they began reporting the shady behavior of the Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Eventually, he got angry about the stories they wrote about him and decided to take them out. The events that followed led to Lacey and Larkin being awarded a $3.75 million lawsuit settlement, which they used to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
The fund is set up to support local groups fighting for civil, human, and migrant rights. Being reporters, they’re strong supporters of freedom of speech and civic participation, so the Frontera Fund also supports groups fighting for those rights.
When it comes to the details about what happened between Lacey and Larkin and the sheriff’s department, things get shady. For a start, Lacey and Larkin were just doing their job and reporting on the sheriff’s unsavory behavior. The sheriff didn’t take kindly to being described as corrupt in their articles and wanted revenge. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
Anytime a law enforcer takes revenge against anyone, it’s never a good thing. Sheriff Arpaio trying to take revenge on two reporters, who were just reporting the truth, was destined to end in failure. By using fake subpoenas he’d gotten from a corrupt prosecutor, Arpaio sent armed deputies to arrest Lacey and Larkin.
The actual arrest looked more like a kidnapping. In the middle of the night, the armed “Selective Enforcement Unit” dragged Lacey and Larkin from their homes and forced them into unmarked SUVs. Arpaio then had them separated so he could try to get the personal information of their employees and anyone who’d read their articles about him.
Living in an ultra-conservative society like Arizona means that liberals will clash with their counterparts a lot. What Sheriff Arpaio did cross the line for a lot of people, even those who are conservative. But, it’s nothing new to Lacey and Larkin; they’ve gone toe-to-toe with corruption before.
When Michael Lacey moved to Arizona, it was to attend college. He ended up dropping out and joining Jim Larkin in a business venture called Phoenix New Times.