There are a lot of racial issues in America these days. Much of it gets covered by the media, but sometimes that gets the reporters in trouble. Usually, there’s a slap on the wrist, assuming anything illegal has occurred. In some cases, reporters are arrested because of a corrupt law enforcer.
That’s what happened to Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. In 2007, they were arrested and jailed under the order Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. They’d done nothing illegal and upon their release, they sued the county and were awarded a $3.75 million settlement.
All of this happened because Sheriff Arpaio wanted to destroy Lacey and Larkin and their newspaper. He violated their rights and broke several laws in his pursuit of vengeance. Fighting against great odds is nothing new to the two media executives. They’d been defending their right to free speech for decades, so one tiny sheriff wasn’t a threat to them. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Twitter
The threatening part was the sheriff’s devotion to their destruction. Inevitably, it was that same devotion that landed Maricopa County in a court case against Lacey and Larkin. After their victory, they dedicated the settlement to supporting local civil, human, and migrant rights groups.
The event in question occurred on October 18, 2007. That was the day that Sheriff Arpaio sent the “Selective Enforcement Unit” to Lacey and Larkin’s Phoenix-area homes to arrest them. They were pulled from their homes in the middle of the night and forced into two unmarked SUVs. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
From there, they were taken to two different jails where Arpaio tried to force them to give up the personal information of all of their employees. He also wanted the names of anyone who might have read any of the articles they’d written about his activities. He tried to accomplish all of this by using fake subpoenas he got signed by a vengeful prosecutor.
Fighting a corrupt sheriff is not what Lacey thought he’d be doing this late in life. In the past, Jim and Larkin went toe-to-toe with a lot of ultra-conservatives. They even met while attending Arizona State University during a protest.
They noticed how the ultra-conservative media portrayed the antiwar protests and wanted to report on them fairly. Eventually, they dropped out of school and started their first newspaper. Recently, they sold the media conglomerate they’d built, Village Voice Media.