Larkin & Lacey; the long road to civil liberties and migrant rights

The pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio by none other than President Donald Trump has rubbed many the wrong way and questioned the president’s commitment to the rule of law. It should be remembered that the relationship between Trump and Arpaio date back several years. Arpaio had publicly endorsed Trump at the start of his presidential bid.

According to The News Version report published on March 18, the former sheriff is best remembered by the public for his notoriety, heinous acts and wrongful imprisonment of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the former owners of the Village Voice Media. The highly publicized arrests took place about 10 years ago. The operation was undertaken by a well-grounded enforcement unit following the express orders of Arpaio.

Lacey and Larkin were released after spending 24 days in prison. They immediately sued Arpaio for gross violations of their rights. In their lawsuit, the newsmen decried the malpractices and corruption cases meted under Arpaio’s watch. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/

The sitting Judge gave in to the prayers and ordered the Maricopa County to pay a settlement of $3.75 million. At the time of their arrest, Lacey was the Executive Editor of the Village Voice Media newspaper while Larkin served as the company’s CEO.

A sister newspaper owned by the Village Voice, the New Phoenix Times newspaper was in the thick of things for publishing news about an undercover probe into a grand jury proceedings involving the same paper. Arpaio had repeatedly aired concerns over what he termed overly aggressive coverage of law enforcement operations and tactics.

The incriminating coverage, according to the sheriff includes the Tent City discrimination suit and orders against women and inmates. In the Tent City lawsuit, Arpaio was accused of inmate mistreatment and later charged, for violating the rights of immigrants, including those of Latinos. In spite of the serious charges, Arpaio continued to work unperturbed.

He went on to profile Latinos and encouraged his juniors to continue with the vice. People fed up with the abuses began to fight in a concerted effort aimed at bringing sanity back to public offices.

At the Frontlines of the fight back, Lacey and Larkin made it their duty to publicize the wrongs done by Arpaio to the American people. Using their newspaper, they wrote extensively about the civil rights violations.

According to Release fact, the two seasoned newsmen joined hands to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera fund using the settlement awarded to them for illegal detention. The fund offers grants to migrant rights groups working in Arizona. The groups that have benefited from the support include non-profit organizations supporting the Hispanics and Latinos facing discrimination at the hands of law enforcement and public officials.

The organization has also vowed to fight against Joe Arpaio’s legacy. After a long lull, newsmen have also signaled an active return to journalism following the launch of the Front Page Confidential website. The online newspaper has vowed to highlight the issues surrounding the First Amendment and threats against freedom of speech inside and outside Arizona.

Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund

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