Steven Seagal Tank Raid: Good Law Enforcement or Just Good TV?
A convoy of armored vehicles descends on a simple suburban home outside Phoenix, Arizona. But the homeowner is not a terrorist. The man is wanted on suspicion of cockfighting.
One of the officers dressed in full SWAT gear is none other than action-hero Steven Seagal. Seagal rode in on a tank to make an arrest for the new season of his hit cable TV show, Steven Seagal: Lawman.
But now Seagal is coming under fire for allegedly using excessive force in that raid.
Robert Campos, the attorney for homeowner Jesus Llovera, says the elaborate raid was nothing more than a staged stunt to make Seagal look good for the cameras that were filming the entire time.
"One of the armored vehicles busted [one gate] in at the same time Steven Seagal and his tank were on the other side busting down a big iron fence," said Campos.
Campos also claims that after the large iron gate was knocked down, it was then propped back up so Steven Seagal could get in the tank and be videotaped knocking it down again. The tank and the SWAT team caused thousands of dollars in damages, according to the lawyer.
Llovera, who was not armed and has no history of violence, says he felt like he was under siege. He says the SWAT team came through his window with a battering ram, forced him out of bed at gun point and Seagal led him away in handcuffs, all without ever explaining why he was being arrested. The entire scene was videotaped for the show.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona has teamed up with Seagal for the upcoming season of the TV series and defends the raid, saying, "I'm not going to apologize for going into that guy's house."
Arpaio says Llovera was on probation for previously being a spectator at a bird fight and they had a warrant to arrest him on suspicion of raising roosters to fight. Llovera denies the charge and says he was raising the chickens as show birds.
"They killed over a 100 of his birds," explained Campos. Yes, it's true. The raid designed to rescue these chickens ended in death for 120 of the roosters.
INSIDE EDITION Correspondent Jim Moret asked Sheriff Arpaio, "Does this suggest to you that the operation was overkill, that it was excessive force?"
"No. We got 120 roosters involved in cockfighting. We got the guy on probation," said Arpaio.
Moret asked, "Why were the animals all killed on site?"
"What could you do with them, unfortunately?" said Arpaio.
Campos said, "The only conclusion is that this was staged because it makes good TV."
Seagal didn't respond to INSIDE EDITION's repeated requests for an interview.