Phoenix-based Village Voice Media, the parent company of the LA Weekly, has a contentious history with the city’s law enforcement. VVM’s Phoenix New Times has long been an outspoken critic of Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his campaign against Latino immigrants. Now the company is taking a stand against the racial profiling they deplore in their own city becoming state policy. From a statement by executive editor Mike Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin:
Village Voice Media is underwriting the cost of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona’s forthcoming litigation against Senate Bill 1070, as well as two other immigration lawsuits.
Senate Bill 1070 mandates that a police officer who has “reasonable suspicion” that someone is a Mexican must detain that person. The cop must ask: Are your papers in order?
Similar legislation is under discussion in seven other statehouses.
Arizona has chosen to insist that all law enforcement in the state adopt the police-state tactics of infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Beyond the issue of immigration, Village Voice Media’s journalists in Phoenix have been targets of the sheriff. Writers, editors, and our publisher have been stonewalled and harassed. The pursuit of public records has led to the filing of criminal charges against a reporter. The entire editorial staff was the target of a criminal grand jury, and the identities of our online readers were the subject of a subpoena. That particular fight led to the arrests and jailing of New Times founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey.
The lawsuit from those arrests is in the appellate court.
For the past couple of years, Village Voice Media’s newspapers have helped finance the ACLU’s efforts to protect the rights of immigrants. Much work beyond the lawsuit remains on the immigration front.
We would like to extend an invitation to you, our readers, to join in this struggle against the cracker policies of Arizona politicians and certain elements within law enforcement typified by Sheriff Arpaio.