The events of one night in August 2007 would forever change the perspective of Jim Larkin and Micheal Lacey. The two had just been arrested in the middle of the night and bundled into two different yet unmarked SUVs before being driven to the county jails.
This was all done under the watchful eyes of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The events of this night would prove to be a turning point of the already frosty relations between the sheriff and these former owners of the Phoenix New Times. The arrest had been instigated by the sheriff when the duo printed an article that focused on the blatant abuse of the constitution by the sheriff and his men where they have obtained a subpoena stopping the duo from publishing details contained in it.
The sheriff would detain the two in different jails and intended to charge them with various trumped-up charges with the hope that some would stick and with a stroke of luck save himself from answering the hard questions that they had been asking. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Michael Lacey | Twitter
The arrest quickly went viral, and every major media outlet was reporting on the story, realizing the mess that he had got himself into he would opt
to release them within 24 hours of the arrest and announced he had dropped all charges. This was a weak attempt to save face by the sheriff.The duo would not take this apparent misuse of power and violation of there first amendment right lying down and decided to move to court.
The lawsuit that ensued would force the sheriff to be on the defensive and it would later emerge that indeed what the sheriff had done was illegal. At this point the sheriff was already facing a myriad of other lawsuits that were costing the county millions of dollars. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Twitter
This, however, did not seem to deter the sheriff from his ways openly stating that the role of the county insurance scheme was to settle such lawsuits. The duo would be awarded a settlement of 3.75 million dollars for the illegal detention and violation of their first amendment right.
This was a drop in the ocean for a county that was facing lawsuits that were costing it upwards of 70 million dollars. The sheriff would personally become the focus of some of this lawsuits when he was accused of racial profiling. Despite all attempts to deny the same, it had already been established that he had systematically entrenched this culture in his department and was not willing to change. 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.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/
A guilty verdict from Judge G Murray would compel the court to come up with measures to try and redeem the image of the department as well as ensure that this culture did not become further entrenched.All this fell on deaf ears as the sheriff was not willing to heed to the orders.
The second lawsuit would find him guilty, and it is at this point that the president issued a pardon. For Lacey and Larkin this action has denied hundreds of victims justice, and they have expressed there will continually speak out against it.