Every news company likes to think that they’re standing for a just cause by reporting the news from their perspective. Phoenix New Times is no different. Founded by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin in the early 70s, Phoenix New Times was the opposition to the ultra-conservative viewpoints of most news companies in Arizona at that time.
Not a lot of other companies got their start like Phoenix New Times. Both New Times executives dropped out of college to focus on the company. Since then, they’ve founded a multimillion-dollar media conglomerate called Village Voice Media, of which New Times is a part of.
A few years ago, Lacey and Larkin ended a brutal battle with Maricopa County. Almost a decade ago, the two executives were wrongfully arrested and jailed by a corrupt sheriff. Upon their release, they filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County and were awarded a $3.75 million settlement.
They used the money to create a charity fund that supports advocate groups for civil, human, and migrant rights. Being media executives, their fund also supports freedom of speech and civic participation groups. The Frontera Fund represents a stance against the abuse of Latinos in Arizona.
That stance against migrant mistreatment is very important in Arizona. It’s no secret that many Arizona natives don’t approve of people, particularly Hispanic people, coming into their state. What’s surprising is to find out that the anti-Mexican hatred happens on a law enforcement level like nowhere else in the world. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
That’s what Phoenix New Times began reporting on in 2007. They found that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio not only supported anti-Mexican fear-mongering, he regularly physically and mentally abused local Latinos. His corruption even included financial irregularities and mismanagement of his own sheriff’s office. He’s an all-around horrible person.
When New Times began reporting on his extra activities, he became enraged. He focused on destroying the paper and its executives. Lacey and Larkin, not ones to cower from an abusive overlord, stood up to Arpaio. That only made him take his abuse of power to another level. In October 2007, Arpaio sent armed deputies to arrest Lacey and Larkin.
At first, arresting two innocent men only sounded morally wrong. As details of their arrest emerged, it sounded more like a gang-related kidnapping. The controversial “Selective Enforcement Unit” arrested the duo in the middle of the night and forced them into unmarked SUVs.
Learn more about Jim Larkin: