Veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by a group of law enforcement officers. Michael Lacey was preparing for his marriage celebrations before the FBI invaded his home and arrested him.
At the same time, a group of other FBI officers invaded the home of his business partner, Jim Larkin in Paradise Valley and arrested Larkin. In 1970, the two veterans founded the Phoenix New Times.
Lacey was the executive editor of the newspaper while Larkin was in charge of advertisements. The newspaper developed and attracted many readers by covering both political and social issues in the community. It emerged as one of the best alternative newspapers in the country. In 2012, they sold the newspaper to Village Voice Media (VVM) in a deal that allowed them to retain online listings at Backpage.com. Read more: Jim Larkin | Twitter and Jim Larkin | Facebook
In an attempt to provide news as well as analysis about the First Amendment concerns they established Front Page Confidential website. The county government that ordered for their arrest also destroyed the website and interfered with the freedom of the press. Both Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were going to plead not guilty to all the charges against them.
The two partners were not to be detained and the pretrial services asserted that they were to be released at their own recognizance. According to Paul Cambria, the defense attorney for Michael Lacey, the direct censorship of Backkpage.com by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was a scheme to take the website down. The government actions of closing down the website were unconstitutional.
The wife of Senator John McCain, Cindy, was interviewed about this matter and she seemed to have some prior information about the raid. Cindy McCain is a member of the Arizona Governor’s Human Trafficking Council where she voluntarily serves as the co-chairperson. She had information that the offices of Backpage had been raided by the FBI and the law enforcement officers also had closed the website.
The illegal detainment of Lacey and Larkin was ordered by Sheriff Arpaio of Arizona. Joe Arpaio commonly known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff” is well known for his reputation of aggressively dealing with illegal immigrants.
Maricopa County in Arizona has a high population of Latinos and Hispanic people who migrated into the United States from Mexico and other Latino countries. In an attempt to curb illegal immigration, Arpaio resorted to violating the civil rights of immigrants to achieve his objective of curbing illegal immigration.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin sued the Maricopa County for arresting and detaining them illegally. The law battle came to an end in 2012 when the court ordered Maricopa County to settle the lawsuit by paying the duo 3.75 million U.S dollars. Lacey and Larkin used the money to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.
The organization offers grants to organizations fighting for the rights of immigrants throughout Arizona. Moreover, the duo is returning to journalism after launching the Front Page Confidential website. This website is meant to address the threats facing free speech and the First Amendment.
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