It was on October 18, 2007, that armed deputies went in unmarked cars to arrest Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. These deputies belonged to the “Selective Enforcement Unit” of Joe Arpaio, who was the Sheriff. They handcuffed Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, who were the executives of Village Voice Media. They were removed from their homes in the Phoenix area. They were pushed into unmarked SUVs. Their windows were dark tinted. They had Mexican license plates. Both of them were put into separate jails that were managed by Joe Arpaio.
It was quite clear that these arrests had been carried out by Joe Arpaio. This was because he was outraged by the stories in Phoenix New Times as they exposed his misdeeds. This newspaper reported on his anti-Mexican stance. In fact, it also reported on the rampant financial irregularities along with the mismanagement that was evident in the sheriff’s office.
Other charges against Joe Arpaio included abuse of power against his critics, the substandard health conditions in the jails under Arpaio’s management, mistreatment of jail inmates that may even lead to their death. Next, there were issues against his systematic persecution, besides racial profiling along with the unconstitutional detention, which was specifically of Latinos.
The reason why Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested was that they had written a cover story in Phoenix New Times. It revealed how the allies of Joe Arpaio had issued grand jury subpoenas. They were asking for details about the writers, editors as well as readers of the newspapers. In addition, they were asking for the personal browsing histories as well as IP addresses of the readers. Lacey and Larkin did not cater to these subpoenas but rather wrote about it.
There was a national outcry over this arrest. Hence Lacey and Larkin got released from jail within 24 hours of their arrest. All the charges against them were dropped.
These two decided to sue the state. They won the case. The decision of the appellate court was that Lacey and Larkin should receive $3.7 million as the settlement from Maricopa County. This was in 2013.
These two decided to earmark this settlement money for Frontera Fund. This was a unique initiative that was intended to benefit mainly the Hispanic community. This was because they are the ones who have borne the maximum brunt of all kinds of civil rights abuses in the state of Arizona.