The President of the United States, Donald Trump’s decision to grant the controversial former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio with a full pardon, was met with a vigorous amount of disdain from the community, as well as from two of the former sheriff’s most bitter rivals, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
Despite the fact that the rivalry between the former sheriff and Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey began almost immediately after he was elected to office in 1992, it was a mere ten years ago that the situation finally reached the point of no return.
Michael and Jim were arrested in their home in Phoenix, AZ, at the behest of the nation’s most controversial civil officers. The arrest was made based on an accusation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio that Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey had used their publication, Phoenix New Times, to disclose to the public, sensitive information regarding a grand jury. While this was alleged by the Sheriff’s Department, the duo actually released information regarding the fact that they, themselves were being investigated by the grand jury.
Upon calling for the arrest, Sheriff Joe Arpaio egregiously violated the constitutional rights of the newspapermen. At the time of the arrest, Jim Larkin was the Chief Executive Officer of their conglomerate, while Michael Lacey ran the Village Voice Media newspaper as the Executive Editor.
To compound the issue of the arrest, it was eventually discovered that it occurred as a result of Sheriff Joe Arpaio contempt towards the New Times consistent coverage regarding a series of indiscretions within the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.
The arrest of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey would eventually lead to a saga spanning five years, for which the duo of newspapermen would find victory, receiving a $3.75 million settlement.
Stephon Lemons of the Front Page Confidential recently did a piece regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tumultuous career, as well as his feud with Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
In the piece, Mr. Lemons revisited the concentration camp-like conditions of the infamous tent city, the astounding amount of people who have died while in the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, and his continuous discriminatory practices leveled at Latino Americans and other minorities.
Sheriff’s Joe Arpaio’s contempt toward minorities would eventually lead to Melendres v. Arpaio, which was an integral part of the controversial figure’s failure to garner reelection.
Today, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are recognized as two of the most prominent figures regarding print publication and the media as a whole. It was in 1970, after dropping out from Arizona State University, that Michael Lacey, along with two other students decided to form a newspaper. This was in response to the conservative angles that the news in the area consistently took regarding the war in Vietnam.
While Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey decided to sell their shares in the company to a group of longstanding executives of the company, their legacy helped to define a generation of high-quality investigative reporting, and the fight for individual rights.