An Artist Performs
Journalists Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were trying to make Maricopa County, Arizona’s sheriff Joe Arpaio a national figure. They wanted to shame him in the eyes of the nation for his anti-Latino, anti-immigrant policing policies. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and https://frontpageconfidential.com/fbi-arrest-michael-lacey-jim-larkin/
Arpaio was harassing anyone who looked Latino and engaging in racial profiling, unlawful search and seizure, illegal detention, negligence and even brutality against inmates, resulting in injury or death, and many other racially-motivated misdeeds. A devout Republican and anti-Latino immigration figure, Arpaio was following the orders of FOXNews and other right-wing outlets.
Larkin and Lacey were both living in Arizona, using their position as co-owners of media outlet Village Voice as a tool to try and expose Arpaio and his departments’ activities. They were not getting the attention they wanted, but were becoming a thorn in Arpaio’s side.
Arpaio formed a secret Grand Jury to investigate Larkin and Lacey, even though he had no cause to suspect them of any actual crimes. When Larkin and Lacey learned of the Grand Jury’s existence, but not of its purpose, they published a story about it. Arpaio called this “interfering with a Grand Jury investigation” and ordered the two arrested on October 18th, 2007.
It was this arrest of Larkin and Lacey that finally got the national attention they had been seeking. The country began paying attention to what was happening in Arizona’s largest county, and Arpaio became an infamous celebrity. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
After 24 days in prison, Larkin and Lacey were finally released after a judge dismissed Arpaio’s charges against them and disbanded the Grand Jury on the grounds it had no reason to exist.
Arpaio lost his 2016 reelection campaign for sheriff, and afterwords was charged with crimes himself. He was found guilty, but before he could be sentenced, President Donald Trump pardoned him, making him a free man. Arpaio has since launched a Senate campaign, vying for the seat most recently held by John McCain. His campaign is not making much progress in Arizona, though Arpaio continues seeking the seat.
Larkin and Lacey used settlement money they received from Maricopa County to begin Frontera Fund, a non-profit first amendment advocacy group. Frontera especially spends time and resources defending the rights of journalists and Latinos, two groups that were specifically targeted by Arpaio and his department.
The two journalists also continue to be journalists, and report on current events including Arpaio’s campaign and fact-checking the Senate candidate.