Thursday night October 18th, 2007, in Phoenix Arizona, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin found themselves in trouble with the authorities. Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa Arizona Sheriff at the time gave orders to have Lacey and Larkin arrested for an article they had published in their Phoenix New Times newspaper. In the report, they revealed information about the Grand Jury probe. The article stated how the grand jury targeted the writers, editors, and readers to the paper.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were the founders of the New Times, a trendy paper. They wanted to expose the sheriff’s abuse of office which had gone on for years since his election into office as sheriff. He targeted and harassed Hispanic and Latino drivers too, and anybody who criticized what Arpaio’s department was doing got unabashedly fought back against by Arpaio.
Phoenix’s New Times started in the 1970’s, Lacey and Larkin teamed up to own the Times. It began in response to the ultraconservative local media coverage of student anti-war protests in the Arizona campus. Working together as executives with Village Voice Media, which publishes New Times, Lacey and Larkin published the piece talking about the probe of the Grand Jury not knowing that it had been set up by Arpaio to investigate them. Further investigations on the Grand jury revealed that its warrant was not legitimate and it got issued by a vengeful prosecutor who bypassed legal safeguards.
Due to how things unfolded, the public got involved and became very instrumental in getting Lacey and Larkin released 24hours after their arrests. It got established that there was no legal ground for their arrests and that their First Amendment rights got violated with the arrests. Lacey and Larkin filed a lawsuit against Arpaio. After quite a while Lacey and Larkin got a sum of $3.75 million settlement. Investigations conducted on Joe Arpaio and his department revealed the horrible conditions at Tent City which explained why so many inmates died there. In late July 2007, Joe Arpaio got charged with criminal contempt for violating orders given to him to stop racial profiling and harassment of Hispanic and Latino people.
In response to increased cases which had built Arpaio’s legacy, human rights movements both regional and national began to form. The movements gave the Latino community as much support and protected them from the continuous abuse of their rights.
Lacey and Larkin used the $3.75 million received from the suit to create and run the Frontera Fund. It is a non-profit organization that gives grants to migrant rights organizations. The future was looking bright for the people of Arizona after many years of abuse of their civil rights especially to the Hispanic and Latino community.
After the settlement, people expected that Arpaio would get charged for all his misdemeanor. They wanted justice for the scars he had left them with, but things did not go as they had expected. He got pardoned by President Donald Trump who was his friend even before he became president. Despite the turn of events, people did not reelect him as sheriff when he ran for office again.