Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are the co-founders and former owners of Phoenix New Times a newspaper company located in Phoenix, Arizona. They both dropped out of Arizona University and founded the newspaper in 1970.
The newspaper was founded as a counterculture response to the Kent State shootings that took place during the year. The New Times is best known for covering non-traditional events and discussing stories that are not covered by mainstream papers.
The sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio had Lacey and Larkin arrested in October 2007. They were arrested because they were accused of sharing confidential grand jury information about the sheriff.
The story revealed how the sheriff exploited the Arizona prison system and his shady business transactions. In response to the publication, the sheriff had the authors documents, computers, and IP addresses confiscated.
Larkin and Lacey exposed the sheriff’s corrupt and racist tactics to the public. Joe Arpaio was sheriff for 24 years and was the subject of controversy. He was accused of torture and mismanaging the Arizona prison system. The prisoners were kept in concentration camp like living conditions and some were beaten to death. He was also accused of sex crimes and poor follow through of investigations.
Since he had a history of discriminating against Latino’s, there was a lawsuit filed against him. During the Melendres v. Arpaio case, he was criminally convicted of racial profiling. He was an abusive sheriff and did not care for the welfare of others. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Many people were killed, tortured and abused under his authority. Along with physically abusing the inmates, the sheriff was accused of making inmates wear pink underwear and striped jumpsuits.
Additionally, he would feed inmates rotten food and use them to perform favors. He allowed the prisons to become hot and overcrowded, shackled pregnant women to their beds, and refused to administer medications. There were many inmates killed by suffocation and hanging during his tenure. He destroyed peoples lives and careers and never answered to anyone.
Recently, President Trump has formally pardoned Joe Arpaio for any wrongdoing during his reign as sheriff. This decision has outraged the public and the families of his victims. The President has been accused of assisting Arpaio during his investigation by examining the judge handling the case and trying to have Melendres deported.
Larkin and Lacey did not hesitate to expose the sheriff’s racism and brutality against inmates. They allowed the public to know about his corrupt behavior and violent actions. Being arrested only caused the public to become angrier with the justice system. Due to the public outcry for justice, Larkin and Lacy were released quickly. Eventually, they sued Maricopa County.
Since President Trump, allowed Arpaio to go free, the story has gained the attention of the media and public. Arpaio’s targets were Mexicans, and their families want him to be held accountable for his actions. Unfortunately, due to his political connections and with Trump’s backing he may not have to pay for his crimes.