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Latino Daily News

Friday March 9, 2012

Steven Seagal, Maricopa Sheriff’s Office Being Sued for Over-the-Top Arrest That Included a Tank

Steven Seagal, Maricopa Sheriff’s Office Being Sued for Over-the-Top Arrest That Included a Tank

Photo: Man says a tank and

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Arizona’s now-famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio has once again gotten himself in trouble, but this time he has Steven Seagal to share the spotlight with.

In March 2011, Seagal and his show “Steven Seagal: Lawman” were filming his exploits as a deputized man of the law in Maricopa County, when he showed up with a tank, bomb robot, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team outside Jesus Llovera’s home in the middle of the night.

Authorities believed Llovera, 43, had violated his probation by training the roosters in his possession for cockfighting, and Seagal and the SWAT team were there to serve a warrant and search the home.

When a tank slammed into the side of his home, Llovera says he was awoken suddenly only to be so frightened he grabbed his jeans and a phone to call 911. As he did so a window in his bedroom was shattered and SWAT team members came through the door in full riot gear and yelled for him to get on the floor. He also claims his 11-month-old puppy was shot and killed by the team.

Llovera’s lawsuit claims that the raid was so over-the-top to make for better television and fits Sheriff Arpaio’s pattern of “arresting and prosecuting individuals without probable cause solely for the selfish and improper purposes of achieving personal and political gain through publicity.”

Prior to the event, the Sheriff’s Office contacted the media.

Though the episode of the Seagal’s show was initially intended to air January 4 on the A&E network, it has since been pulled from the schedule.

Llovera says producers asked him multiple times to sign a release to allow them to use the footage from that day, but he refused.

The suit is asking that any evidence collected from that raid be thrown out, as the warrant was not properly served.

The Arizona Republic wrote:

The Sheriff’s Office insists in court documents that the use of a tank, a bomb robot and 40 deputies was part of its normal course of duties.