In late August, United States president Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, a man who some who knew him well referred to as America’s worst sheriff. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had personally felt the brunt of Arpaio’s dark underhand dealings ten years ago.
They were at that time the executive editor and the CEO of their newspaper outlet. They had angered Arpaio because of an article they had carried earlier in the day, which Arpaio felt exposed him and his activities negatively.
Arpaio was never happy with these two, and he felt they unfairly targeted him. Somewhat, their sharp eyes never failed to notice his cruel actions, and they would proceed to write in in their tabloid, the Phoenix New Times, for the whole world to see.
That day Arpaio had the two arrested, in utter violation of the First Amendment. The arrest caused outrage across the world, and the department had to respond to the negative global coverage they were receiving.
The newspaper, as is its sole responsibility, wrote of the wrong things that were Arpaio. These ranged from his election into office 16 years before their arrest, to the many crazy policies that he put in places such as restraining expectant mothers to their beds and the many suspects who died in his jail cells.
Five years later, the county would pay $3.75 million as compensation for unlawful arrest. Lacey and Larkin would use this to start a new nonprofit organization, the Frontera fund, whose sole aim is to fight for the rights of migrants and immigrants. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Twitter
In 2016, Arpio supported Trump’s nomination and final stab at the presidency, probably after reading the signs of his dwindling prospects for the future. His support for Trump paid off because, in late August 2017, Trump decided to pardon Arpaio, a good friend of his, and this gave him the lifeline he needed, as it helped him avoid further lawsuits.
It is probably their common way of looking at issues and attitudes they possess, for example, their attitude towards migrants, that these two came to be comrades, supporting each other in their time of need.
Lacey and Larkin have a long history together. They started working together in 1972 when they teamed up and took the helm of Phoenix New Times, which at the time was a campus weekly publication.
In the course of time, they added more content to their paper, covering areas such as sports, social events as well as the politics of the day. It worked well and increased their readership.
Within a few years, they got into more partnerships with other media outlets, including the Village Voice, and this would see the new conglomerate cover from coast to coast, reaching a wider net of people with a publication which had more content and variety.
It is, however, their arrest and imminent jailing in 2017 that catapulted them to the top of global news. The case attracted widespread attention, and within 24 hours, the subpoenas and charges against them got dropped.
They decided to use the final compensation they got from this unlawful arrest in a way to defend the rights of the migrants and immigrants, the Latinos that lived with them and whose rights Arpaio grossly kept violating.