Certified Criminal Law Specialist in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ
Mar
27

Putting the Force in Police Force: Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Tank and…Steven Seagal?

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Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who will never be confused with Sheriff Andy Taylor, has done it again.

The Arizona sheriff, who is currently the subject of FBI, United States Department of Justice, and Federal Grand Jury investigations for civil rights violations and abuse of power, can now add overkill to his impressive resume.

On Monday, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and arrested the homeowner, Jesus Llovera, on charges of suspected cockfighting, according to KPHO.

Sounds simple enough. But, Arpaio decided the best tactic for a simple search warrant and arrest would be to use armored vehicles, including a tank, dozens of SWAT personnel, a bomb robot and, of course, Steven Seagal, who was there to presumably break bonesand film an episode of his A&E show Lawman.

“I think taxpayers should be shocked,” Robert Campus, Llovera’s attorney, told KPHO. Given that some residents actually called 911 on the raid, after windows were blown out and the walls of Llovera’s home were knocked down, it sounds like they already are. Campus also said there was no probable cause to believe his client was armed or dangerous.

But good, responsible policing doesn’t make for good television.

Campus went on to tell the television station that the entire scene was basically staged, to help Steven Seagal’s TV show. After all, it was Seagal riding into the breaches manning the tank.

But police are chalking this one up to being cautious. The “what if” card.

“We’re going to err on the side of caution. We’re going to make sure that we have the appropriate amount of force in case we do run into anything like that,” said Sgt. Jesse Spurgin.

But even if they do need to be prepared, why aren’t they being held accountable for the amount of forced used? It’s one thing to show up with a dozen SWAT members or armored vehicles, it’s another thing entirely to use that force when it’s unjustified. Steven Seagal or no Steven Seagal.

Even though Llovera was convicted of a misdemeanor last year for attending a cockfight, he has no history of owning firearms, and on this specific occasion, he was unarmed when police raided his house. Thousands of dollars in damage were caused by the police and Llovera’s 115 birds were euthanized.

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