Lacey and Larkin, the two journalists working for the Village Voice Media newspaper, had no idea that they have been under the investigation of the Arizona Grand Jury.
Interestingly, at the time of their investigation, they published an article discussing the very same Grand Jury and the probe in the Village Voice Media publication. Soon, Lacey and Larkin were visited and arrested by Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit, led by notorious Joe Arpaio. What happened?
Understanding The Background Story
Joe Arpaio was inaugurated into an office in 1992: he had become a Maricopa County sheriff. Soon, he started attracting the attention of local newspapers, Village Voice Media newspaper in particular. Now, the Village Voice Media newspaper CEO was Jim Larkin. His “partner in crime” was Michael Lacey. And what was their crime? Well, they spoke the truth!
Specifically, they started receiving a lot of bad information about Joe Arpaio’s overaggressive methods and tactics. Things got worse when the news about Arapaio’s misconduct and misuse of power. What’s worse, he was especially violent to women and immigrants. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Now, most of the misconducts were dealt with behind closed doors. In one occasion, Arpaio was instructed by the United States District Judge, Murray Snow, to release the detainee (immigrant). Reasons? Arpaio had no evidence to support his actions; he couldn’t prove that the detainee did anything unlawful.
But then, roughly ten years ago, information on issues of power started leaking out. Specifically, in 2010 a lawsuit was launched against Arpaio, and information about misconduct in infamous Tent City was revealed. The lawsuit was successful, and Arpaio was charged with violation of the rights of the minority groups (Latinos in particular.) Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
However, the lawsuit didn’t slow Arpaio down; in fact, it made him more aggressive. He started encouraging his fellow police officers to give Latinos “a special treatment.” Here’s the part where our journalists, Lacey and Larkin come into play.
The two journalists started exposing Arpaio’s extreme and racist methods to the American public. However, what journalist didn’t realize was that Arpaio helped form a special prosecution team, which started to investigate their newspaper agency. Initially, other news agencies didn’t react.
But, the situation escalated to the point when no one could ignore it anymore. Other newspapers continued where the two journalists stopped and started publishing articles about Arpaio’s misuse of power.
The case became a scandal, receiving national coverage. Lacey and Larkin were released out of prison after 24 days. When they got out, they sued Arpaio: in the end, they settled for $3.7 million.
The Trump Factor
Things went south for Arpaio. He wasn’t reelected and was charged with contempt in 2017. However, he had friends in the Oval Office. The fact that Arpaio endorsed Trump’s candidacy back in 2016 certainly helped. On the other hand, Trump promised to pardon Arpaio if he gets elected. Why? Maybe quid pro quo.
Arpaio was also supported by his colleagues, for they often defended his “selective” practices. But with the help of various human rights organizations and Frontera Fund, Latinos got the help they needed. Even though he was pardoned by the president, people will never forget nor forgive Arpaio’s practices and misconducts.