After the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, was recently pardoned by President Donald Trump, United States District Judge, Susan R. Bolton, made the decision official with her ruling. This was not a surprise to many of the citizens of Maricopa County, as a common belief has developed regarding his ability to escape punishment due to the many crimes he is accused committing during his time as sheriff.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, who famously headed one of the most prominent newspaper companies in the United States until 2013, often called out “Sheriff Joe” for his unjust practices, particularly in regards to Latino Americans, whom he made a constant target of racial profiling through the actions of his deputies.
Joe Arpaio made national news when the conditions of his jail, often referred to as “tent city,” came to light, and in response, Arpaio referred to it as his own “concentration camp.” After years of tension between Phoenix New Times and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, Joe Arpaio advanced as the aggressor, having Larkin and Lacey arrested in their homes by deputies who arrived in unmarked vehicles with Mexican license plates. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Michael Lacey | Twitter
The nature of the arrests was quickly sniffed out, and Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were released from custody in less than a 24 hour period, but the battle had just begun. Larkin and Lacey would take out a lawsuit against Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department which resulted in a three-year back-and-forth between the two sides, ultimately resulting in a win for the former heads of New Times Media.
They would go on to use the awarded monies to start the Frontera Fund, which is dedicated to protecting Latino Americans against racial profiling and other injustices by elected officials.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were dropouts at the time they began Phoenix New Times. Spurred by the killings that had just taken place on the campus of Kent State University, Michael Lacey, joined by several other backers of the anti-war crowd, kicked off the first issue of Phoenix New Times.
The need for a new voice in media was growing throughout the country, and Phoenix New Times garnered an audience rather quickly.
In the next two years, Jim Larkin would come aboard the team at Phoenix New Times, working in the marketing sector, and soon after, the company began to garner more visibility. J.C. Penny would be the first major company to work with Phoenix New Times, and after running several full-page ads, things began to take off.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey would go on to add a number of new columns, including personals ads and satirical comic strips, that opened Phoenix New Times up to a new audience. In 1983, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey purchased Westword from Patricia Calhoun, immediately beginning a period of rapid expansion.
When all was said and done, New Times Media would become the home of 17 individual publications, including LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Miami New Times, Nashville Scene, and Village Voice.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: