Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have known each other since the early 70s. They worked together on a paper about the ultra-conservative media portrayal of local campus antiwar protests. After experience their first success, the two decided to drop out of college and start their own newspaper.
Phoenix New Times began as a small weekly paper that they offered for free. Lacey served as executive editor and Larkin oversaw advertising. Eventually, they grew their small company into in a well-respected media conglomerate. After a lengthy battle with a corrupt sheriff, the two sold their multimillion-dollar company.
Their lengthy battle with a corrupt sheriff earned them national attention. When they began reporting on Sheriff Joe Arpaio, they never thought they’d become national heroes. They’ve always viewed their jobs as essential to providing Arizona natives with the truth. They weren’t personally attacking Sheriff Arpaio; his activities raised red flags, and they followed the story.
In the beginning, the story was an in-depth look at Sheriff Arpaio’s irregular operations, including financial irregularities and mismanagement of his jails.
As they dug deeper into his activities, they discovered a plethora of accounts of him abusing his power and local Latinos who he claimed were illegal. Read more: Jim Larkin | Crunchbase and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
The arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin made national news thanks to Sheriff Arpaio’s overzealous desire for revenge. For weeks, New Times released stories detailing the sheriff’s abuse of power. There were documented instances of the sheriff attacking his critics, mistreating jail inmates, and racial profiling Latinos.
Tired of New Time’s attempt to expose him, on October 18, 2007, Sheriff Arpaio sent armed deputies to Lacey and Larkin’s homes to arrest. The two men were forced into shady-looking unmarked SUVs and taken to separate jails. There, Sheriff Arpaio tried to break them and when he failed, he charged them with a bogus crime.
What started out as an investigation into a corrupt sheriff turned into a full-on war. Sheriff Arpaio outright violated Lacey and Larkin’s rights. He even wanted the names of the paper’s readers, so he could prosecute them as well.
After being released, Lacey and Larkin sued Maricopa County. They were awarded $3.75 million, which they used to start the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund. Some of the money was also used to support local charitable groups that fight for migrant rights and civic rights.
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