ILLEGALLY ARRESTED REPORTERS USE COURT SETTLEMENT FOR GOOD

Just in case you haven’t heard about the Frontera Fund, or what it’s purpose is, here is a quick overview for you:

The Frontera Fund is an initiative meant to largely benefit Hispanics and migrants in Arizona. The Frontera Fund was co-founded by two reporters, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin who, on October 18, 2007, were illegally arrested and detained by Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio’s armed “Selective Enforcement Unit.” This was done under direct orders given by Sheriff Arpaio. After a public outcry for justice, Lacey and Larkin were both released from custody within twenty-four hours of their arrest and all charges were subsequently dropped.

All of this stemmed from several news articles that the reporters had written and published that cast light on several questionable practices that were discovered to be going on and were being investigated in the former Sheriff’s district. Their articles, in addition, helped to expose quite a few other shady goings on in Arpaio’s office, including mismanagement of public funds.

The former sheriff, who touted himself as ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff,’ was very well known for his unorthodox and, often times, radical approaches in dealing with jail and prison inmates as well as his over-the-top and unconstitutional racial profiling and his treatment of suspected illegal Mexican immigrants.

So, in turn, after a drawn out battle in court, when Lacey and Larkin were awarded a court settlement from Maricopa County totaling $3.7 million dollars for various damages and the civil rights violations that the two suffered, they decided to use the money and turn the situation into a very positive one. That’s how the Frontera Fund came to be. It is a program which many, many people – people who often times have nowhere else to turn, are going to be able to benefit from.