Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin attended the University of Arizona but eventually dropped out. However, before they left, they would start a campus paper that would grow leaps and bounds. In fact, this humble paper would eventually become known as Village Voice Media–comprised of over 17 publications. One of which was the Pheonix New Times.
The New Times tracked the goings on of Maricopa County. And its frequent star was Sheriff Joe Arpaio–known as the toughest Sheriff in America. The New Times would often site things that earned Arpaio this title, such as the pink underwear he would make his prisoners wear or the rotten fruit and balogna he would make them eat.
However, the publications about Arpaio took on even darker tones when it discussed women who were chained to their beds while giving birth or the prisoners who were savagely beaten if they did not follow instructions.
And sometimes, the paper would mention the suicides that took place during the Sheriff’s 24-year reign as well as the wrongful deaths that happened.
The more they saw, the more Larkin and Lacey worked to expose the corruption of Arpaio. And apparently, they weren’t the only ones who were fed up with his behavior. In the case of Melendres v. Arpaio, there was a class action suit filed against the Sheriff.
In it, many Latinos claimed to have been racially profiled. It claimed that Arpaio had sent citizens whom he had deputized out to round them up and find out who was in the country illegally. Eventually, in 2013, the plaintiffs received a settlement of $70 million dollars.
Though Arpaio didn’t receive time for his criminal acts he did receive some for being in contempt of court after disobeying an order from the judge. But still, he would never serve any of his supposed 6-month sentence, because he was eventually pardoned by Donald Trump. Some feel that Arpaio intentionally rallied for Trump’s presidential candidacy so that he would show him favor in this regard.
2013 was a busy year for the courts with cases that concerned Arpaio, because this is also the year that Larkin and Lacey received their $3.75 million settlement for improper arrest.
The Sheriff wanted to prosecute the New Times investigative reporter for publishing his address on the internet in an article that exposed his misappropriation of jail funds. However, on the day of the trial Larkin and Lacey published an article expressing the injustice. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Facebook
The two were promptly arrested by Arpaio’s citizen posse and taken into custody. The Sheriff claimed that by publishing the details of the subpoena in their recently released article, they had violated its terms and were guilty of revealing grand jury secrets. Within in no time, the news spread around the country.
And it was picked up by major publications. When the public found out there was an outcry and the two were released.
Larkin and Lacey currently run the Front Page Confidential website, where they discuss the matter of free speech. They eventually sold Village Voice Media. Also, they used the settlement money to fund organizations who support migrant-rights throughout Arizona.