The Larkin and Lacey Story

 Scandal and Controversy

These stories have unfortunately become very commonplace. No matter where you look in the news, you are seeing stories of scandal and intrigue, usually from the very ones who are supposed to be doing things in the name of justice.

The phrase, “Who watches the Watchmen” comes to mind when you hear of these internal scandals.

Well there is more fuel for the fire, outrage as the story spreads on Larcin and Lacey, owners of “The Village Voice” media publication, who were illegally detained by “the toughest sheriff in Maricopa County.” In order to understand the whole story here, we first have to start at the beginning.

Joe Arpaio

Self-proclaimed to be “The toughest sheriff in Maricopa County,” Joe Arpaio was one of the longest running sheriffs in Arizona. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase

Arpaio built a reputation for himself by being tough on crime. However, it seemed that most of the criminals Arpaio was detaining also happened to be Hispanic. In fact, throughout most of his career, Arpaio was accused of specifically targeting the Hispanic community.

This happened so often that eventually he got investigated, and a judge indeed confirmed and convicted Arpaio for racial profiling. He was officially convicted of criminal contempt after a series of narrow escapes from justice for blatant targeting of immigrant communities.

While many were excited to see Arpaio finally pay for his crimes, the sheriff was pardoned by Trump, which have many shaking their heads, but that is not even the most absurd part of this story.

Larkin and Lacey

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, owners of a local news publication were well known for putting the misdeeds of this sheriff in their articles. They reported often on what they felt were the unjust actions and mistreatment of Hispanics in the community, which was well within their rights.

Joe Arpaio on the other hand, thought that this was not in their rights, and on October 18th, of 2007, several armed officers of Arpaio’s Selective Enforcement Unit, (you can’t make up a name like that) performed a coordinated arrest of both Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, arresting both in their separate homes, throwing them into unmarked SUV’s, and taking them to two separate jails, both under Arpaio’s control. 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/

There was so much public outrage over these arrests that Larkin and Lacey were released the next day. However this was a blatant violation of the pair’s first amendment rights. This shocking and brazen display of corrupt authority shocked the area, and a lawsuit won Larkin and Lacey 3.75 million from Maricopa County.

Good from Bad

So while this story certainly stunned America, Larkin and Lacey have since used the settlement money they received from this case to start the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. This fund gives grants to migrant rights organizations in Arizona.

This organization also works with other non-profits to ensure Hispanic and Latino rights are preserved. So while there has been plenty of scandal, at least some good came out of it, even if that was only revealing the level of corruption occurring in even the quietest parts of America.

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