When Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio got revealed to the public by journalists Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, he could not have anticipated the events to lead to a multi-million dollar settlement.
In 2007, this controversial Sheriff arrested both of these “Phoenix New Times” writers. They both had a long history of exposing Sheriff Arpaio’s endeavors, including their stories on anti-Mexican propaganda, financial issues, mismanagement problems, and many other derogatory events that the Sheriff took part in.
After Sheriff issued a grand jury subpoenas that pertained to confidential details of the writers, including their browsing histories and similar, both Lacey and Larking decided to publish this for the world to see. A repercussion they suffered was an unlawful arrest which happened on October 18th of that year.
Less than a day later, both writers were released from jail after the news has risen to a nation-wide fame. Charges against the two were dropped, although the consequences for the Sheriff were not over. Since his escalation utilized an illegal detention of two citizens, a court battle focused around the First Amendment ensued.
Five years later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made a verdict against the Sheriff, deeming his actions as a “direct assault on the Constitution”. Sheriff’s subpoena that started the entire controversy was also claimed invalid as it did not follow the proper protocol. The final result was a $3.7 million settlement that Lacey and Larking received.
The money that the writers received was put to a good use. They decided to form a fund, called “Frontera Fund”, which aims to fight for the rights of Hispanic community in Arizona. According to them, people of Mexican origin are mistreated in this state very often, and the ultimate goal of the fund is to provide some form of a relief.
Jim Larking, who is an Arizona-native believes that the issue is nowhere close to being solved. His coworker Lacey agrees, as they both observe that actions of Sheriff Joe Arpaio were not only aimed at Hispanic individuals, but also to those of brown skin. This type of behavior is what facilitated a public misunderstanding, and now people from Arizona and many other states are fearing anybody who comes from Mexico into the United States, according to the writers.
Ultimately, Lacey and Larking to fight for the rights of minorities, hoping to help them live a better life in a country where they might be perfectly legal citizens.