Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been a leading figure in the rise of anti-Hispanic rhetoric seen across the U.S. in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. The former Maricopa County Sheriff became a regular figure in the conservative media where he was known for describing himself as the toughest cop in the U.S.; the problem for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona was the abuses of power the man known for racially profiling many members of the Hispanic community in Arizona. It was not only Hispanic individuals who were targeted by the sheriff but also journalists including Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
The Frontera Fund was established by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin after they were illegally arrested and imprisoned by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in response to their publication of a story about the use of an illegal Supreme Court warrant by the law enforcement agency in Arizona’s Maricopa County. Legal officials in Maricopa County came together to ask for illegally obtained information about the employees and owners of the Phoenix New Times along with the identities and IP addresses of subscribers to the newspaper.
The main reasons for the actions of Sheriff Arpaio were his need to strike back against those he felt were attacking his action and personal integrity. Under the leadership of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the Phoenix New Times ran a series of stories detailing the many waves of abuse of power committed by Sheriff Arpaio and his employees at Maricopa Sheriff’s department; among the abuses detailed by Larkin and Lacey were those surrounded conditions in the jails operated under the leadership of the Sheriff and his deputies which many found to be a health hazard. The publication of a story detailing the financial mismanagement of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Department was a major event in Arizona and led to the warrant being illegally issued by the Supreme Court.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin wrote a story detailing the illegal practices of the Supreme Court warrant issued on behalf of Joe Arpaio against Larkin and Lacey. The journalists were arrested in the middle of the night with unmarked vehicles and taken to different jails; arrested on unfair and illegal charges, Larkin and Lacey used the $3.75 million settlement they received for their unfair arrest to establish The Frontera Fund assisting members of the Hispanic community of Arizona racially profiled and targeted under the tenure of Arpaio as Sheriff of Maricopa County.