How Lacey and Larkin took on America’s toughest sheriff

For those who are familiar with the work being done by the Frontera fund advocating and fighting for the Hispanic community, they will remember the interesting journey that led to it coming into existence.

The Larkin and lacey Frontera fund was started using 3.75 Million dollars that had been awarded to the two as a settlement arising from a case where they sued the sheriff and his entire department for illegal arrest, detention, and violation of their first amendment rights.

The lawsuits were a culmination of a series of steps and actions that the sheriff had engaged in during his six terms as sheriff that would finally lead to the arrest and detention of Michael and Jim the former CEO and executive editor of the Phoenix New Times.

The two were arrested in the middle of the night in August 2007 and were thrown into unmarked SUVs by members of the sheriff department; this was following the publication of the contents of an overreaching subpoena. The subpoena was seeking to stop the publication of any details or stories regarding the sheriff and his departments by the newspaper.

This was a further escalation following the already existing ban on all reporters working for the publication from covering any press briefings done by the sheriff. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427427/Jim_Larkin and http://james-larkin.com/press/

The bad blood between the sheriff and the paper had been a long time going, seeing as Michael and Jim were two fearless journalists who did not shy away from covering all the sheriff’s misdeeds as he ran a racist campaign against the Hispanic community of Maricopa County.

He ran a xenophobic campaign that was meant to place all the blame for all the ills facing the entire county on one community. This for him was a systematic assault that was meant to justify the actions that he would take thus giving credence to his tough on immigration stance.

The sheriff would, however, meet his match in Jim and Lacey as they would swiftly report on this actions ranging from the illegal detention of Hispanics to the actions by his officers in the tented jails that were run by the department. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter

A case that would draw a lot of irk from the public was one that involved a woman who slipped into a coma after being denied her medication despite pleading with the officers and informing them that she had diabetes and she required her medication at all times.

This was followed shortly by another report of an inmate a veteran who had died while in custody in what the sheriff referred to as a jail riot. These cases were intensively investigated by Jim and Michael and the coming to light of how the sheriff’s department had handled them did not sit well with him.

This kind of reporting would soon lead him to order for their arrest an action which would quickly turn against him, and he soon found out that even he as a law enforcement officer was not above that law. This series of actions would forever haunt the sheriff in his career.

Read more:  Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Michael Lacey | Twitter

 

An insight into the Front page confidential.

Michel Lacey and Jim Larkin are some of the most respected journalists in Arizona. There work ethic and defense of the first amendment rights have been nothing short of phenomenal while at the same time a source of trouble for them. They have had to endure humiliation, threats, and arrests from Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was the self-branded toughest sheriff in America. The former sheriff of Maricopa County had a personal vendetta with this two founders and former owners of the Phoenix New Times. The had been able to comprehensively document some of the most inexcusable ills that the community in Maricopa had been forced to endure under the leadership of the county sheriff.

The Phoenix New Times had been able to expose the rot in the sheriff’s office a man who was running the one hundred million a year office like a personal venture. Funds meant for development especially for jails were diverted to other areas that were neither approved for nor as crucial as those that funds were initially intended for. This systematic exposure would see the sheriff arrest the duo in 2007 being hauled into unmarked SUVs and later taken to separate jails. This turn of events was an open affront on the first amendment rights guaranteed in the constitution. The situation would quickly escalate, and before long some of the most prominent media houses and the public in an outcry forced the sheriff to release the two and drop the trumped-up charges. Michel and Jim sued the sheriff, and his office, the ninth circuit court of appeals found the sheriff in the wrong. The county settled for 3.75 million dollars an amount that was entirely dedicated to the Frontera fund. This fund is dedicated to the fight for the rights of the Hispanic community in Maricopa as well as other parts of the country. Today the two continue with the quest for the protection of the first amendment right through there latest publication the Front Page Confidential.

 

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