Frontera Fund Co-founders Reflect on the Arpaio Ordeal

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin became famous names for the press after their ordeal with former sheriff Joe Arpaio who headed the police department of the Californian Maricopa County ten years ago.

Journalists based in Phoenix, Arizona, Lacey, and Larkin have been working in media for decades. They created a number of news outlets such as Phoenix New Times and the newspaper chain Village Voice Media. Michael Lacey was the editor of the latter at the time, and Jim Larkin was the Chief Executive Officer of the newspaper chain. Later Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin founded Front Page Confidential as well.

Ten years ago, Larkin and Lacey became involved with Joe Arpaio personally. Californian media used to write a lot about Joe Arpaio who was back then the sheriff of Maricopa County. Joe Arpaio vastly misused his power as head of the department and brought dishonor to the badge as he used it to racially profile citizens across the Maricopa County.

Over the course of his pseudo-career, Joe Arpaio did so much harm that he was dubbed ”worse sheriff in America” by hundreds of publications. His transgressions range from his notorious Ten City to him giving out orders to shackle expectant mothers to the hospital beds during childbirth.

Joe Arpaio has had a vast number of detainees who have died in his cells as well as many extralegal campaigns to curb his political foes, carried out by his deputies. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://michael-lacey.com/ and https://angel.co/michael-lacey-3

Joe Arpaio racially profiled hundreds of people living in his jurisdiction. He was confident, or rather audacious, enough to demand the names of the people who had read the articles about him from the owners of the online news outlets as well. He sent an e-mail to the news outlet of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin a well which did not stand unpunished, and so Lacey and Larkin had an expose about it up on their site. The ordeal escalated when Joe Arpaio had his men enter the homes of Lacey and Larkin during the night and arrest the journalists.

Lacey and Larkin were taken to separate jails- both were under Arpaio’s jurisdiction. That raised the outrage of people, and the journalists were released several hours after. This ordeal resulted in the court case Melendres v Arpaio which ultimately brought down Joe Arpaio and disabled him from the power to commit his crimes.

Five years later, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin left behind their journalistic careers and focused on protecting people and empowering organizations and foundations to do the same. The court case earned them a settlement of almost 4 million dollars which they used to create the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.

Now, five years after the end of the court case, the Frontera Fund is a thriving organization that enables Arizona-based groups to achieve their mission and protects the right of immigrants, refugees, and many minorities.

The Frontera Fund supports organizations that provide medical care, legal representation, living help, education, protection for undocumented and underprivileged individuals, and more.

Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund

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