On the night of October 18, 2007, both Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey ended up handcuffed and arrested by Sheriff Joe Arpaio with the support of his officers. Larkin and Lacey, who are business executives and reporters, were taken from their residences in Phoenix, AZ by force and driven away in unmarked vehicles that had Mexican license plates. Sometime later, Lacey and Larkin were put in separate jail cells according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s orders.
Joe Arpaio calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff”. Since the Phoenix New Times had featured Arpaio’s controversial actions in a number of articles, which exposed Arpaio’s involvement in giving momentum to the anti-Mexican movement in the state of Arizona, he arrested Larkin and Lacey, who were writing the articles. The articles covered everything from irregularities, bad management and improper employment of authority and power against Joe Arpaio’s adversaries. In addition, the stories exposed racial profiling of Latinos, horrible jail sanitation, improper inmate treatment that even resulted in death.
Larkin and Lacey published a story in the Phoenix New Times that featured illegal grand jury subpoenas shortly after their arrest. This resulted in the charges being quickly dropped and Larkin and Lacey being released after public outcry against Joe Arpaio.
Since Larkin and Lacey’s arrest and jailing were illegal due to the fact that Joe Arpaio did not follow legal steps to arrest them as well as having no probable cause, it was proven that their 1st Amendment rights had been violated as well as having suffered the abuse of power. Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the grand jury subpoenas were not valid.
The case resulted in a $3.7 million settlement, which Larkin and Lacey used to start the Frontera Fund. This fund is used to support the Hispanic community’s rights in Arizona.
Larkin states that helping less fortunate individuals is an important thing. Helping Mexican immigrants that are looking for jobs and opportunities in the USA is something he firmly believes in. Larkin and Lacey have helped other nonprofit groups to defend Hispanic civil rights and combat racial profiling. Since all Americans are descendants of migrants, Larkin and Lacey support migrants.