Newspapermen Larkin and Lacey Don’t Stand Down

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were picked up by Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio’s Selective Enforcement Unit and tossed into unmarked SUVs on Oct 18, 2007, then taken to jail under the cover of darkness. This was apparently because their Phoenix publication, Phoenix New Times, openly criticized Arpaio’s methods, philosophy and general behavior. According to Larkin and Lacey this was illustrative of Arpaio’s methods. Larkin and Lacey were released in less than a day.

The two men don’t shy away from controversy. They’ve been publishing alternative newspapers for years. Their business draws criticism from conservatives like those that share Arpaio’s views. But Larkin and Lacey aren’t standing down from speaking out on these unjust practices and continue to defend against the harsh judgement they receive about their brand of journalism.

They continue to shine lights on people like Joe Arpaio. As with any alternative newspaper, they tell stories they feel need to be told regardless of pressure against it.

This inspired them to pursue a legal battle which, in 2012, Judge Murray G. Snow of the Ninth Circuit Court in Maricopa County ruled that Arpaio and his deputies were “public officials ordering the immediate arrests of their critics” and awarded Larkin and Lacey a $3.75 million settlement and Arpaio’s conviction. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase

The newspapermen brought the level of startling violence perpetrated on Arpaio’s prisoners (which resulted in deaths) at Arpaio’s holding cells, Tent City, to the public’s attention. If words and actions by the two newspapermen in the years that followed are any indication, Larkin and Lacey don’t seem to regret the drawn out law suit.

After dropping out of Arizona State University the two college dropouts began their publishing careers “born out of anger” after the Kent State incident in 1970. Their efforts grew into a chain of newspapers across the country. As to targeting Arpaio, Larkin said they’d become “…a constant thorn in his side.”

Often misusing his authority, Arpaio’s history consists of everything from feeding his prisoners rotten food and torture to unlawfully investigating anyone who opposed his actions, including the judge who was to sentence them, suggesting Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery and the jailing of Larkin and Lacey. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phillypurge.com/2017/06/23/jim-larkin-michael-lacey-make-the-list-of-civil-rights-protectors/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737

The Stephen Lemons Nov. 17, 2017 piece in Phoenix New Times delves deeper into what the newspapermen say about what motivated the current administration’s pardon and what Trump and Arpaio have gained from each other’s actions. In Melendres v. Arpaio the sheriff stood to receive a six month prison sentence for his blatant racial-profiling, sickening prisoner brutality and ignoring a federal judge’s orders.

But during Donald Trump’s first year in office he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio weeks before he was to be sentenced. Says Lacey, “Rex Tillerson was right: Donald Trump is a moron and his pardon of Joe Arpaio proves it.”

Larkin and Lacey are setting up the Lacy and Larkin Frontera Fund with the $3.75 million they received. This fund grants money to migrant-rights organizations throughout Arizona.

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