The Fall of Joe Arpaio and the Rise of the Frontera Fund

If you are acquainted with the various groups that advocate for civil, human and migrants’ rights, you might have already heard of the famous Frontera Fund, created and founded by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the two entrepreneurs who co-founded Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media as well.

The Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund is one of the most important forces when it comes to these groups that help communities in need of legal assistance. They fight against legal oppression and abuse of power.

The creation of the Frontera Fund is a very peculiar set of events that changed the lives of the two journalists and entrepreneurs forever.

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were two journalists that were exposing a sheriff named Joe Arpaio because of many of his shady actions and controversial speeches.

Because of their work as journalists and for exposing the man who considered himself the “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” the duo was arrested, without warning, in the night of October 18, 2007, and it has been done without legal consent or actual proof of any crimes that the two journalists had committed. Michael and Jim were arrested and handcuffed, pulled from their houses and sent to jail on that evening. The forces that arrested them were Joe Arpaio’s personal forces, the “Selective Enforcement Unit,” brought together to hunt down criminals and law offenders.

At that period, the journalists were using their media company, the Village Voice Media, to raise awareness of the sheriff’s misdeeds and actions in the past. Joe Arpaio was the sheriff of Maricopa County, and, in that evening, he was the man who would change the lives of the two journalists forever. Read more: Michael Lacey | LinkedIn and Michael Lacey | Twitter

Of course, the two close friends and co-workers were arrested and sent to separate jail cells, and that stayed only for 24 hours until the law enforcers released Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin because of a national scandal when it all happened. The image of the Maricopa County sheriff was worse than ever, but it would get even worse now that the duo was being released.

The “America’s Toughest Sheriff” was now a target of the two journalists, and they progressed with their investigations even harder than before, but their focus was now centered in something else entirely.

The two friends decided that they would help institutions and groups fight against the injustice that they were victims themselves at that October evening released Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were convinced that legal abuse was something that could not happen anymore in the future, and they were very aware that there were groups out there that tried to fight for the same philanthropic goals, but they were unable to achieve success because of low funding support.

Lacey and Larkin, however, had something up their sleeves, as the duo received a $3.7 million settlement money because of their unjustifiable arrest, paid by the Maricopa County itself, in 2013.

Since then, the two entrepreneurs had their next big idea for an organization: The Frontera Fund, destined to help groups fight for communities who are in need of protection of their civil and human rights.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: