Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are journalists and co-owners of the Village Voice. The two lived in Arizona and saw what Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his racist, anti-Latino and anti-immigrant policies were costing the county and the state in terms of social damage and lost or disrupted lives.
Arpaio and his department were imprisoning U.S. citizens without a trial, illegally detaining migrants, engaging in racial profiling and many other infractions. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison
Larkin and Lacey used their position as journalists to try and expose Arpaio to the country. Initially they had limited success until Arpaio stepped in and tried to silence them by imprisoning them.
One of the many stories published by Larkin and Lacey was about a secret Grand Jury that Arpaio had convened for an unknown purpose. After they ran a story about it in the newspaper the Phoenix New Times Arpaio saw a chance to get rid of the two.
He sent his deputies to arrest them for interfering with a Grand Jury investigation on October 18th 2007. The men were arrested in the evening at their homes and placed in different detention facilities.
The arrest was approved by the same Grand Jury they had reported on. Unknown to Larkin and Lacey, the point of said Grand Jury was to investigate them on Arpaio’s orders. When the case went before a judge it was thrown out, the Grand Jury disbanded and Larkin and Lacey were set free after 24 days in prison. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner and James Larkin | Wikipedia
Larkin and Lacey sued Maricopa County for wrongful imprisonment and were awarded $3.7 mullion. The two had no intention of keeping the money and used it to start Frontera Fund, a civil rights group dedicated to defending the first amendment. In an effort to try and undo some of the damage cause by Arpaio and his department Frontera focuses mainly of the Latino community with its efforts.
Arpaio eventually lost his position as sheriff, losing the 2016 election for the position he held since 1992. Arpaio was pardoned for his crimes after his conviction by President Trump. He has since entered the race for one of Arizona’s Senate seats in Washington, D.C.
Larkin and Lacey continue to report on Arpaio and make sure the country doesn’t forget his record and what he stands for. They speak out against him at any opportunity, reminding people of how he tried to silence their civil rights.