Longform

Dog Day Afternoon

Page 6 of 6

There were other holes in the floor where a canister could have possibly ignited a fire, burned through the floor and fallen into the kitchen below.

As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter whether a candle or a tear gas canister started the fire that burned the house and killed the dog.

There would have been no fire if Arpaio's overzealous and unsophisticated SWAT deputies hadn't needlessly launched a dangerous assault in a densely populated area. Such operations should be reserved for the most dangerous situations, where innocent lives are at stake.

In this case, there was one guy with a misdemeanor warrant holed up in the house. He hadn't fired a single shot. He wasn't threatening anybody. There were no hostages. There was no clear indication that the house was full of heavy automatic weapons.

All Arpaio's deputies had to do was show a little patience and a modicum of common sense.

But these are traits that neither Arpaio nor his deputies seem to possess.

Instead, an entire neighborhood was subjected to a dangerous assault that left children traumatized, residents furious, and a puppy on fire.

"It was totally uncalled for," says Gene Delfino. "You don't go hunting for deer with a tank."

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John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty