On October 18, 2007, a bizarre occurrence took place in Arizona. The feared law enforcement unit; the Selective Enforcement Unit, made their way to residential homes of both Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey during the evening hours. On arriving, the deputies from the Selective Enforcement unit arrested the two reporters and drove away with them in unmarked tinted SUVs bearing Mexican number plates. Later that day citizens of Arizona learned of the arrest of the two journalists who had now been booked in separate jails.
When word finally came out on to why the Larkin and Lacey had been arrested, it was shocking. The reason behind the arrest was a story they had published in their local daily about the extent to which American constitutional rights were being grossly violated.
Sheriff Arpaio’s inner circle at the Maricopa County Attorney’s office had recently given out subpoenas from the grand jury seeking personal information about readers, writers, editors of journals and newspapers or any published material. The information requested included the browsing history and the IP addresses used by these individuals.
While most journalists would cower to such intimidation, Lacey and Larkin were not. They instead went ahead and published a comprehensive article in their local daily informing the citizens of Arizona on how their tights were about to be subverted. While in jail fellow inmates inquired why Lacey had been arrested. It is both funny and at the same time that he had been sent to jail for writing and expressing himself.
Lacey and Larkin were released less than 24 hours after their arrest thanks to a public outcry from citizens of Arizona and America at large. The charges leveled against the two Arizona journalists were dropped.
The two were offered a $3.7 million settlement after a lengthy court battle. The fund is what Larkin and Lacey used to set up the Frontera Fund to help Hispanic communities facing similar challenges and racial discrimination. The two Arizona journalists are working on addressing social difficulties faced by both migrant and native citizens of Arizona.