Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are journalists who were arrested on October 18th, 2007 by deputies of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office. Acting on orders from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the deputies seized the men from their homes in the evening and took them to separate prisons where they were held for 24 days on charges of obstructing a Grand Jury investigation.
The two journalists has indeed reported on an Arpaio-ordered secret Grand Jury, but the two didn’t find out what the Grand Jury’s purpose was. It turns out that the purpose was to investigate Larkin and Lacey to find anything to throw them in jail over. Arpaio was upset at the two for reporting on his misdeed as a sheriff and wanted them out of the way.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey co-own Village Voice, a media company. Village voice in turn owns, among others, the Arizona newspaper Phoenix New Times. They had published several stories on Arpaio in the paper, including the one about the secret Grand Jury. They alleged- with proof- that Arpaio was running his sheriffs department illegally. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
He was detaining U.S. citizens over their immigration status, racially profiling any who looked Latino and had a horrendous record of prisoner treatment. Arpaio denied these allegations while secretly seeking to imprison Larkin and Lacey to silence them.
The two journalists were in jail for 24 days before a judge ordered their release and the charges dropped. Arpaio’s Grand Jury was disbanded as it was formed under false pretenses and the two were sent home. They sued the county and won $3.7 million.
The $3.7 million settlement went into forming the Frontera Fund, a group dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Latinos and others. Larkin and Lacey didn’t want to keep the money, but rather put it back into the community that Arpaio had done so much damage to.
Eventually Arpaio was found guilty of charges against him. He was then pardoned by President Donald Trump. Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term in Maricopa County, losing the elected seat he had held constantly since 1992.
The people of Maricopa had seen enough and weren’t too happe about the county settlement. Since this loss Arpaio has announced his bid to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona as a Republican. Trump has endorsed him for the seat, as Arpaio did for Trump early in his presidential bid.
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