Maricopa’s Selective Enforcement Unit on orders from the Maricopa Sheriff went to Phoenix Arizona on a special mission to arrest Michael and Larkin Jim. The purpose was indeed one of a kind because the arrests were made at night. Michael and Jim got removed from their homes and forcefully escorted into unmarked SUVs with dark tinted windows making the scene even more dramatic and somewhat unusual. Jim and Michael got taken to two separate jails all under the rule of Joe Arpaio. He ordered their arrests after the two published an article on the Phoenix New Times which exposed information on a Grand Jury subpoena for information on the editors, writers and readers to Phoenix New Times who were involved in publishing or reading on any stories about Joe Arpaio.
The two jointly owned the Phoenix New Times and hence were held responsible for stories in the trendy paper. The Phoenix Times wanted to uncover Sheriff Arpaio’s department’s misdemeanor. The Times reported on the Sheriff’s egotistic way of leadership and how he imposed political superiority in Arizona. It also covered reports on the mistreatment and death of inmates in Tent City, which seemed to happen a lot to inmates taken to Tent City. There was a lot of racial profiling of Latinos and Hispanic people, and no one seemed to do anything to stop it.
Lacey and Larkin got arrested because the article they published made public Arpaio’s continuous misconduct and violation of the constitution. Joe Arpaio hired a special prosecutor by the name Wilenchik and even set up a Grand Jury in an attempt to get information on personal details of writers and editors to the Phoenix Times. The arrests brought about so much public attention because it became the headline in most newspapers. The public outcry from people who respected and also believed in what Michael and Jim published prompted the attorney to drop all charges against them and released them 24 hours after they got arrested. The Maricopa County got sued later that month by Lacey and Larkin for the abuse of their First Amendment.
Investigations revealed that the Grand Jury order seeking private information of writers, editors, and readers of the Phoenix New Times was invalid because a court had not issued it. It was also found that the special prosecutor had violated specific legal procedures. All these facts led up to the appellate court ordering a $3.75 million settlement to be made to Lacey and Larkin by the Maricopa County for the illegal detention.
They used the settlement fee they got to establish the Frontera Fund, an organization that works to uphold the rights of migrants and immigrants. The Organization supports other non-profit groups that actively support the Hispanic and Latinos. The ultimate goal for the Human rights movements and organizations is to completely erase Arpaio’s legacy and undo the damage his leadership did. Lacey and Larkin eventually returned to journalism and launched the Front Page Confidential, a website that covers threats to free speech and threats to the First Amendment rights.