Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey have never shied away from highlighting various injustices in America. The two journalists and business partners began working together in the 1970s after both had dropped out of Arizona State University.
Lacey was born in Newark, N.J., while Larkin was from Phoenix. They started publishing Phoenix New Times, a weekly issue that covered students’ opinion on various socio-political issues. Gradually, the publication highlighted other social and political issues in the United States.
Their natural organization skills were vital to the growth of the paper. Larkin was handling the advertising aspects while Lacey was the executive editor. It became one of the fastest growing publications in the country.
In early 1980’s they started purchasing other papers as part of their expansion plan. The first to be acquired was Denver’s Westword. It was followed by the acquisition of 17 newspapers including Miami New Times and New York City’s Village Voice.
Larkin and Lacey established themselves as brave and impartial journalists. They unearthed various infringements and unfair treatment executed by people including prominent government officers. Their approach did not augur well with some of these perpetrators. One of them was Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.
The Sheriff had christened himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” He employed inhumane approaches to deal with suspects within his area of jurisdiction. Sheriff Arpaio would cover up his grievous activities by engaging the media, where he appeared as a committed officer.
However, the Sheriff would not fool everyone. The New Times under Larkin and Lacey exposed his brutal treatment of suspects. Many deaths were reported during his tenure as a result of torture, the poor state of the jail, and denying some medication.
Arpaio did not stop there. He would arrest and prosecute those who opposed his approach and misuse of authority. The Sherriff has also rounded up Latinos to determine if they were in the United States legally.
The more the harsh Sherriff continued with his deeds, the more New Times was committed to uncovering him. In fact, he had forbidden New Times’ reporters from attending his press conferences. The Sherriff could no longer handle the exposes and arrested Larking and Lacey from their homes at night.
The two had also been served with an illegal subpoena restricting them from publishing anything that would implicate Arpaio. They took Arpaio to court for unlawful arrest and were awarded $3.75 million. The money was used to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, which is premised on fighting for the rights of the voiceless.
Unfortunately, Joe Arpaio was recently pardoned by President Trump. According to Lacey, the move is primarily a failure in the justice system, and it ensures that Arpaio is not held responsible for the abuse of office and the cold-hearted deeds. Interestingly, Arpaio openly supported Trump’s candidature.
Besides, he was among the most vocal people during the conspiracy about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and even went ahead to launch investigations.
Trump and Arpaio share opinions on various issues such as contempt for Mexicans. The decision may thus be aimed to appease those ‘nationalists’ that hold similar views.
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