It was on October 18th, 2007 when Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, two journalists from Arizona, were illegally arrested by at-the-time Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Selective Enforcement Unit.” The deputies of the unit pulled the journalists from their homes and transported them via unmarked SUVs to separate locations.
The arrest stems from Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin doing their job. As the co-owners of The Phoenix New Times, Lacey and Larkin had been covering the illegal activities of Arpaio for years. Finally, Lacey and Larkin published a front page story on the actions of Arpaio. Arpaio somehow convinced the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to issue subpoenas to the newspaper. The subpoenas ordered the paper to reveal details about writers and editors. Even readers were not exempted from the subpoena, it ordered the newspaper to provide the IP addresses of the readers. Lacey and Larkin ignored the orders. Instead of obliging the subpoena, they chose to publish an article about it.
When the story of their arrest was published in national newspapers, the public outcry was so loud that the county had no choice but to release the journalists.
This illegal arrest was ultimately a positive for Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. They filed a lawsuit against the county and won. The two journalists were awarded almost 4 million dollars, which they have now used for charitable causes.
They created an organization called The Frontera Fund: a charitable fundraiser. The fundraiser supports and funds a large variety of charities all through-out Arizona and even in surrounding states.
Larkin explained why he created The Frontera Fund when he said, “I grew up in Arizona, I was taught from an early age that one must give a hand to those of us less fortunate in life.”
Lacey and Larkin are very methodical when they choose which charities to support with The Frontera Fund. Because Joe Arpaio targeted the immigrant community in Arizona, Lacey and Larkin have decided to pledge most of their time and effort to Hispanics and Hispanic-Americans. The Frontera Fund supports such charities as ACLU of Arizona and Can the Border Divide Us?
With their new-found careers as philanthropists, Lacey and Larkin hope to undo the damage caused by Joe Arpaio and his allies.