Michael Lacey is one of the co-founders of Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Lacey always knew what he wanted to be in life. After high school, he moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University.
There, he met Jim Larkin, a Phoenix native. Two began working together on a paper about the ultra-conservative viewpoints the local media had about antiwar protests that were happening on campus. After a short discussion, they both dropped out of school and started their own paper. Now, their company is a multimillion-dollar media conglomerate.
For the past few years, life’s been treating Lacey and Larkin fairly well. Just recently, they sold Village Voice Media to some trusted company executives who plan on continuing the brand’s high standards of reporting. Despite the recent success, Lacey and Larkin are also haunted by events that took place nearly one decade ago.
In October of 2007, they were arrested by Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Selective Enforcement Unit”. If that sounds a little scary, it’s because it is. Sheriff Arpaio has a long history of abusing power, something undiscovered by New Times, which is why he went after Lacey and Larkin.
Sheriff Arpaio always viewed himself as somewhat of a humble hero who’s just doing his job. To many Arizona locals, Arpaio was just a benign character not worthy of any special attention. But to Phoenix New Times, Sheriff Arpaio was some who needed to be exposed.
In several stories published by New Times, Sheriff Arpaio was described as shady and racist. The paper cited several accounts of him abusing his power, showing extreme prejudice towards Latinos, and mistreating numerous jail inmates; even sometimes causing their deaths. The negative revelations about Arpaio drove him mad with hate for New Times.
Sheriff Arpaio made the same mistake that every abusive lunatic makes when going after reporters. He unleashed his full wrath on them, exposing himself completely. After his many assaults on their rights to free speech and privacy, the two executives wrote detailed stories about their encounter with Arpaio. Read more:Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
While Arpaio denies everything, there’s plenty of evidence showing that he blatantly abused his power. He unconstitutionally jailed the two executives and tried to force them to reveal the identities of their readers and staff members. That was a brutal attack of their First Amendment rights.
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