There are some stories that are just frightening. The story of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin’s battle against a shady Maricopa County sheriff made national headlines. In 2007, Sheriff Joe Arpaio began looking into Phoenix New Times, which was reporting on his “extracurricular activities”.
Enraged by the paper’s attempt to undermine his power, he decided to unleash his wrath upon the paper’s co-founders, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. Sheriff Arpaio sent in his special unit of trusted deputies to drag Lacey and Larkin from their homes and drive them to separate jails, run by Arpaio.
The story stayed quiet for a while, but it was eventually discovered that everything was orchestrated by Sheriff Arpaio. He’s known for being one of the toughest sheriffs on crime, which is why so many Arizona-natives looked the other way. Once Lacey and Larkin had a chance to tell their story, Sheriff Arpaio began looking more like a criminal.
Not only does this story of police-instigated kidnapping point to Arpaio being wrong, but the many stories written by Lacey and Larkin point to that. According to their stories, Sheriff Arpaio’s been abusing his power for years. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey: https://twitter.com/JimLarkin_
There are numerous accounts of him mistreating jail inmates, racial profiling, and unlawfully detaining Latinos.
The tipping point for Sheriff Arpaio came after New Times posted a story about him using subpoenas to wrongfully acquire personal information about people. The paper called his actions an outright “assault to the Constitution”. At that point, Arpaio used his authority to target Phoenix New Times and its co-founders.
He not only wanted to arrest Lacey and Larkin, he wanted them to hand over all notes concerning him and his activities. He also wanted the names of personal records of New Time’s employees and their readers.
Michael Lacey didn’t grow up with power and influence. He’s the son of a diligent construction worker, who understands the power of dedication. When he moved to Arizona, he planned to attend Arizona State University but dropped out. He joined with Jim Larkin and began writing and editing Phoenix New Times.
Jim Larkin’s past is similar. It’s one of the reasons they became such good friends. Within a year of meeting each other, they started a business. Eventually, that grew and included 17 other like-minded papers from all over the country.
After their ordeal with the sheriff, they sued Maricopa County and won $3.75 million. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey decided to use that money to establish a migrant and human rights fund called the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund also supports local free speech groups.