The fight that pitted journalist against sheriff
Many may not be familiar with the history of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. They are the former owners of the Phoneix news time; this is a publication that focused on news stories that affected Arizona as well as the country at large.Driven by curiosity and the love to tell stories as well as protect the first amendment right and ensure that the public is truthfully informed is what pushed them over the years.
The duo has had a lot of ups and downs, especially with one sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sheriff Joe was self-declared Americas toughest sheriff.Having been elected to office in 1992, he was a former Drug enforcement officer who believed that he could change the system and better the community while at it. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Jim Larkin | LinkedIn
On joining the sheriff’s office, however, his perspective change and for the six terms that he would be reelected to office, they would come to be the most ferocious ones for the Latino community in Maricopa County. He ran a racist office that was hell-bent on racial profiling and suppressing anyone that was opposed to him.
He was so blatant in his disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens that he had no problem running a self-declared “concentration camp.” This was an area where he would round up anybody that did not look or talk like him and organize for there deportation.
He was the focus of numerous scandals that were part of his administration this included the death of inmates in his cells as well as the illegal diversion of jail money in the tune of millions of dollars over the years.
In August 2007 he led a raid that would see Jim Larkin and Michel Lacey were arrested in the middle of the night. The two were arrested in the middle of the night and transported using two unmarked SUVs before they were locked up in separate jails. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/
Their mistake was the intense focus they had been putting on his operations. Having been very vocal about his violations on the Phoenix news time, it did not sit well with the sheriff. The arrest of the two drew so much outcry from the public that the sheriff deemed it unfeasible to continue holding them.the two were released the following day pronto, and all the bogus charges that had been brought against them were dropped.
What followed was a court battle pitting the duo and the sheriff’s office against each other. The pair had sued for illegal arrest and violation of their first amendment rights. In 2013 the ninth district court of appeal ruled that indeed the arrests had been made illegally and there first amendment rights had been violated.
The county had no option but to settle with them and this resulted in an award of 3.75 Million dollars. This amount was dedicated to the Frontera fund which today is the leading fighter for Latino rights in Arizona and beyond. Jim and Michel continue to fight for the freedom of the Latino community with the firm belief that they deserve the best representation too.