Two journalists from Arizona, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, spent years publishing stories about racist, law-breaking Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. They were hoping that by publishing stories about the racial profiling, illegal search, seizure and arrest and of immigrants and U.S. citizens alike, the rampant mistreatment of suspects in custody and many other violations of human and civil rights under the U.S. Constitution.
Arpaio had been sheriff since 1992, and was staunchly anti-Latino and anti-immigrant. His entire sheriffs department had orders to be the same way, and they followed them. Arpaio felt he was a hero of white Americans: In truth, he was a terrorist towards Latin Americans and anyone he perceived as “unwelcome.”
Larkin and Lacey were not having much success in shining a spotlight on Arpaio and his department. This changed when Arpaio ordered the arrest of Larkin and Lacey on trumped-up charges of interfering with a Grand Jury investigation by publishing a story about the Grand Juries existence.
After 24 days in prison for basically made-up charges, Larkin and Lacey were released from prison and the charges against them dismissed when a judge reviewed the case. It was revealed that the Grand Jury they had exposed was in fact an illegal attempt to find a reason to lock Larkin and Lacey in prison.
This imprisonment for exercising their first amendment rights got the national attention Larkin and Lacey had been working toward. The general public was outraged at this blatant abuse of power by Arpaio, making him a national figure and a point of shame for most Americans. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Make The List of Civil Rights Protectors | Philly Purge
A settlement for wrongful imprisonment gave Larkin and Lacey the money they needed to found Frontera Fund, a civil rights non-profit focused on protecting the first amendment rights of Latinos and other Americans who are going through the legal system. The two also continue to operate in their capacity as journalists, with a special focus on Arpaio and making sure to provide the American people with the truth about him. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/5-smart-ways-people-and-places-are-resisting-trumps-immigration-policies/
Arpaio himself lost his bid for his seventh term as Maricopa’s sheriff in 2016, with many of hos former supporters citing the incident with Larkin and Lacey as their reason for voting for someone else.
Arpaio was found guilty of some federal crimes, but Trump pardoned him before he could be sentenced. Arpaio is currently running an unpopular campaign for one of the U.S. Senate seats from Arizona.