When one migrant-rights group succeeds, they all succeed. Every movement needs at least one victory to kick-start everything else into motion. For advocate groups fighting for civil, human, and migrant rights along the Mexican border, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin scored that first victory against federal abuse.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are college dropouts that started one of the more respected newspapers in Arizona. They also co-founded one of the most respected investigative reporting news conglomerates in the country. In 2012, they sold their media conglomerate and focused on continuing to buildup Phoenix New Times.
The biggest story New Times covered involved a corrupt sheriff who showed blatant disregard for the law and his badge. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is, in short, a racist bigot disguised as a man of the law. His corruption went beyond bigotry and included financial irregularities and mismanagement skills.
Most mainstream news providers either ignored or played off his obvious corruption and described him as a benign character in the Phoenix area. New Times reported on all of his horrible activities, which enraged him to a point that he instigated an all-out assault on Lacey and Larkin’s Constitutional rights. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Jim Larkin | LinkedIn
Sheriff Arpaio’s actions ended in disaster for him. Lacey and Larkin came out of the tragedy unharmed and prouder than ever. Arpaio blatantly attacked their first amendment right, he tried to destroy their newspaper, he tried to harass their employees and their readers, and he even tried to violate the rights of anyone who might have been involved in any of New Time’s investigations.
For a few hours, it seemed like Arpaio had every right to do what he was doing. He’d done things like this numerous times before, but no one ever found out about it. When the nation found out he’d jailed two innocent reporters, he life was over.
The duo spent less than one night in jail. Arpaio claimed that he arrested them because they were writing fake stories about him and his good deputies. In truth, he used fake subpoenas to go after Lacey and Larkin.
During the court battle that followed, Lacey and Larkin were awarded a multimillion-dollar settlement. They didn’t keep any of the money for themselves. They created a charitable fund that supports numerous groups in Arizona and along the Mexican border.