Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona became a national figure when he imprisoned two journalists, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, on what were clearly bogus charges in 2007 in an effort to stop them from reporting on his department’s misdeeds.
Larkin and Lacey were Arizona residents and co-owners of Village Voice, a media company that owns the paper the Phoenix New Times. They saw how Arpaio’s department engaged in racial profiling and other misconduct, such as inhumane treatment of prisoners and illegal searches and arrests.
Wanting to bring national attention to all of this Larkin and Lacey ran story after story about Arpaio, hoping to get some national attention onto him. During their investigation of Arpaio Larkin and Lacey uncovered a secret Grand Jury he had assembled that seemed to be operating without just cause. They didn’t learn what the Grand Jury was investigating but they ran a story on it and Arpaio used that as an excuse to have them arrested. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Larkin and Lacey Fruntera Fund | Crunchbase
Charging the two journalists with interfering with an investigation, Arpaio ordered Larkin and Lacey arrested and they were picked up from their respective homes on October 18th, 2007. Larkin and Lacey were held for 24 days before being freed. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/
There was a national outcry that finally succeeded in bringing Arpaio’s activities to the national attention. Though he was admired by some, most Americans of all political striped were against his violation of freedom of the press.
A judge finally ordered Larkin and Lacey freed and all charges against them dismissed. The Grand Jury was determined to have been founded without cause and dissolved. With these blows to his goal of putting them behind bars Arpaio went to trial himself.
He was found guilty but pardoned by President Trump. Arpaio lost his 2016 re-election bid for a seventh term, ending his career as sheriff. The people of Maricopa County were tired of the hits to their reputation the Counties coffers.
Larkin and Lacey sued the county and were awarded $3.7 million in a settlement. They used this as seed money to start a civil rights defense organization, the Frontera Fund.
Focusing Frontera on defending the 1st amendment and Latinos specifically, Larkin and Lacey hope the organization repair some of the damage done to the Latino community by Arpaio. The two continue to cover Arpaio’s activities as he seeks a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Arizona.