Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a name many people who were aware of racial politics in the early 21st-century will remember for the victimization of various minority groups including Mexican migrants and people of color. One of the few bright moments to come from the stewardship of the law in Arizona’s Maricopa County comes from the fact The Frontera Fund charitable group was created from the embers of the downfall of the man who described himself as “America’s toughest sheriff”.
The Frontera Fund was formed by journalists and media executives, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin to fight for the rights of minority groups who are often robbed of their basic human rights in communities along the U.S.-Mexican border. The incident leading directly to the creation of The Frontera Fund took place on October 18th, 2007 when Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were removed from their homes in Phoenix, Arizona in unmarked SUV’s at the behest of Sheriff Arpaio and members of Maricopa County’s justice department.
In the days and weeks prior to the arrest of the Village Voice Media executives, the battle between them and Sheriff Arpaio had grown in anger following an investigation by the Phoenix New Times of Village Voice Media into the financial irregularities seen at Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Department. In response to the investigation, officials at Maricopa County used an illegally-obtained Grand Jury subpoena to ask for the personal information of Phoenix New Times staff and readers including IP addresses of Online readers. This clear violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became the next cover story for the Phoenix New Times as Larkin and Lacey refused to hand over the requested information.
As legal battles continued over the subpoenas, Sheriff Arpaio dispatched his allies to the Phoenix area homes of Larkin and Lacey to arrest the two men and illegally imprison them. The fact Sheriff Arpaio had failed to take into account the media and public backlash against his acts revealed how far out of touch he had become with the law and resulted in a Supreme Court fight resulting in a $3.7 million compensation payout to the two journalists. Choosing to use the compensation fund for good, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey decided to create The Frontera Fund which fights on behalf of migrants and people of color in their continuing battle against the stigma created about them by Sheriff Arpaio and his allies over the first decade of the 21st-century.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrested Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin on the night of October 2007. Under the guidance of armed deputies whose jurisdiction is Maricopa County, the Selective Enforcement Unit put the two in custody. As the leaders of the Village Voice Media, Lacey and Larkin were charged with disseminating sensitive information concerning a filed case. Forcibly evacuated from their homes in Phoenix, the duo was shoved into a black yet unmarked SUV dominated by tinted windows. Arpaio booked the duo into isolated cells where he served as the manager.
A quick look into the case suggested that Arpaio was the investigator. Also known as the toughest and most reliable sheriff in the United States of America, Joe Arpaio was furious about Lacey and Larkin’s determination to pull his name into the books of corruption. The duo has published an article concerning Joe’s gross misconduct in office. His misdeeds were now out of the dirty docket. According to the article published by Phoenix New Times, Joe was just an extra trouble maker in the department. Mainstream newspapers indicated that Joe was a lead sheriff in fostering incompetence.
One of the articles indicated that he abused power by instigating illegal demands on the people of Arizona. His constant retaliatory abuse of institution contributed to the writing of the said articles. An additional charge on his side indicated that he practiced substandard health provision in the office. On mistreatment and preventable deaths, Joe Arpaio was the lead character. That is why Lacey and Larkin took to the stage to write articles about his malpractices. His systematic persecution as well as racial profiling contributed to the whistle blowing.
During Lacey and Larkin’s arrest, the reasons behind it seemed unclear. However, several pointers indicated that the duo played a pivotal role in highlighting Joe’s character in office. As a result, New Times revealed the grievous assault by giving their story a chance to be read by the people. Arpaio is said to have received concrete help from the attorney’s office. Lacey and Larkin were commanded to surrender their browsing details to the court in order for their IP addresses to be investigated. Being brave, they produced the requirements. In writing, there was a clear indication that the two media personalities were innocent. There only mistake, which can be termed as a constructive mistake or misdoing was helpful in saving many lives in prison. This is because Arpaio’s misconduct extended to the cells. Following a loud outcry by the people, Lacey and Larkin were released and settled at an invaluable cost of approximately $ 3.7 million.