Civil Liberties

Bread and Circus. And Chickens. And Tanks.


Sometimes, a story comes along that defies commentary.

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.

My column on the sad spectacle of reality cop shows here. I also wrote about how the presence of reality show cameras may have contributed to the shooting of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones here.

(Thanks to Franklin Harris for the tip.)