The Frontera Fund, which was founded by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, supports human, civil, and migrant rights. It also supports freedom of speech and the civic participation of those living throughout Arizona and the Mexican border. As co-founders of the Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media they enthusiastically shared their settlement money to fund migrant rights organizations.
Michael and Jim received settlement money from being wrongfully arrested on October 18, 2007 by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were taken from their homes in the middle of the night and arrested after they reported about the grand jury proceedings. Arpaio pursued the reporters’ notes on different articles that covered what the Sheriff was doing.
They received grand jury subpoenas that demanded the identity of people who read the New Times stories online that involved sheriff Joe Arpaio. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin defended those citizens on their First Amendment rights and denied Joe the notes.
It took ten years to convict Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The legal proceedings were long, but the verdict proved that Arpaio was guilty of anti-immigrant profiling of Latinos and the abuse of his power.
Sentencing will take place on October 5, 2017, but Arpaio and his legal team are fighting for a jury trial. He is facing six months in prison. During the trial stage, Arpaio showed contempt and disregard for Judge Snow. The Judge in turned asked Arpaio to stop the racial profiling.
The sheriff was taken down by community groups and activists who collected the evidence and logged all documents on his anti-immigrant policies. Many documents showed Arpaio’s unconstitutional racial profiling of Arizona’s citizens. Videographer Dennis Gilman, documented Arpaio’s action against the predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods by saturating their neighborhoods with police patrols. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/
Many people worked for years on the case and it paid off when they could bring forth a solid case that clearly explained to the judge and the public the racial profiling that was being done. A new and younger breed of activists joined the fight and kept it going until Arpaio was convicted.
Non-profit organizations along with grassroots groups were put together to fight Arpaio. They formed neighborhood leaderships, Cop Watch, Lucha and many other groups, to keep an eye on what the sheriff and his followers were doing throughout the county. Even the courts ordered an appointed monitor and a citizens group to monitor the actions of the sheriff’s department.
For the most part, the media ended up caving into the wishes of Arpaio because they were afraid of Joe and his loyalists. Jim Larkin and Michel Lacey were not afraid and began confronting the sheriff.
The sheriff went off in a rage when Jim Larkin and Michel Lacey supported the journalists who uncovered all of Joe’s misconducts. Joe’s retaliation of demanding the journalist’s notes was denied and the executives of the media later sued in court and won a $3.75 million dollar settlement. The disrespect against journalism and the freedom of expression is what gave way for the birth of the Frontera Fund.