Some people in Arizona, especially in Phoenix, consider Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin as their heroes. Some describe them as their local robin hood: the mythical heroic personality who took an oppressive and powerful regime so he could give back to the needy community.
Likewise, many subscribers to the Frontera Website claim that such is the concept and inspiration under which the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund was founded. Larkin and Lacey had to take on the most oppressive county sheriff in all of America. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who proclaimed himself as America’s toughest sheriff, had established a legacy of racism and abuse of office.
When the two veteran journalists decided to take him on, they were well aware that he would deal with them as abrasively and ruthlessly as he did other critics of his. However, they felt that he had consolidated too much power for himself and left the residents of Maricopa County powerless, especially the Hispanics and the immigrants.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio took from the people. He invested 690,000 dollars in cash in local real estate despite his 72,000: his office accounting featured a discrepancy of a similar amount.
Despite the provision of enough funds to keep the county jails habitable for inmates, he kept them as unhygienic and inhabitable as he could. Learn more about Larkin and Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/
Apart from financial misappropriation, he also took the people’s voice. He physically intimidated those who criticized him openly and tried to silence the media.
He once got the county attorney to issue subpoenas to the founders of both the Village Voice Media and the Phoenix Times to surrender their journalist notes, their sources and private browsing data of people who read articles describing his abuse of office. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Phoenix New Time
He even took some people’s lives through malicious negligence: he let over 60 people die of treatable illnesses while under his custody. Most of the illnesses that caused those deaths were contracted when those inmates were in the deplorable jails and not before their arrests.
Michael Lacey and his partner simply had to take all that the sheriff took from the Hispanic community and the First Amendment of the Constitution and give it back to the oppressed.
They published the subpoenas which were served rather than comply with what the subpoenas demanded of them. They were arrested for it at night and roughed up. They sued for wrongful arrest in response and took back the people’s power when they got the sheriff plus special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik and County Attorney Andrew Thomas indicted.
They were awarded 3.75 million dollars which they gave back to the Hispanics and immigrants who Arpaio oppressed. They founded the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund which fights for the rights of immigrants in all of the United States but with a keen focus on the Phoenix Hispanics.
The two human rights activists then gave all the money they took from the administration to the Frontera Fund they had just founded. The initiative also gives financial and legal backing to groups and individuals that advocate for civil, human and migrant rights.