March 23, 2011

Public Masturbation, Maricopa County Style

You have got to be kidding me.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio rolled out the tanks to take down a man suspected of cockfighting.

West Valley residents in the neighborhood are crying foul after armored vehicles, including a tank, rolled into their neighborhood to make the bust.

Neighbor Debra Ross was so worried she called 911 and went outside where a nearby home had its windows blown out, was crawling with dozens of SWAT members in full gear, armored vehicles and a bomb robot.

“When the tank came in and pushed the wall over and you see what's in there, and all it is, is a bunch of chickens,” Ross said.

In a massive show of force on Monday, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant and arrested the homeowner, Jesus Llovera, on charges of suspected cockfighting.

Llovera was alone in the house at the time of the arrest, and he was unarmed.

“I think taxpayers should be shocked,” said Robert Campus, Llovera’s attorney. Campus said he believes the operation costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Deputies had no probable cause to believe Llovera was armed or dangerous, according to Campus.

Campus said he believes the entire scene was basically a stage, to help actor Steven Seagal’s TV show, “Lawman.”

Seagal was riding in the tank.

The Sheriff’s Department has entered into a contract with Seagal and part of that contract gives Seagal carte blanche to go along with the sheriff as he arrests people.

Thousands of dollars in damages were made to the property and 115 birds were euthanized on the spot.

Llovera was convicted of a misdemeanor last year of attending a cockfight and has no history of owning weapons.

Yet the sheriff’s office said they had reasons to believe Llovera might be armed.

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.[emphasis mine]

I don't know where to begin.

Joe Arpaio. Steven Segal. Tanks and stormtroopers descending on an American neighborhood to wrangle a man who has never even been accused of harming another human being. TV cameras glorifying it all. And Sgt. Spurgin calls it "err[ing] on the side of caution".

This isn't funny. It isn't wacky. And it isn't what life in a free society looks like.

Whole story via Channel 5 KPHO.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently you don’t need to break the law or even appear to break the law to have SWAT called on you. Here is an excerpt from a story about foreclosure. “Meanwhile, compelling video of a grandmother being evicted from her home by a SWAT team last week suggests the banks aren't slowing down their rush to foreclosure and eviction.”