Sheriff Joe Arpaio and posse member/action-movie actor Steven Seagal are off the hook in a lawsuit that claimed the Sheriff's Office had raided his house just for getting publicity for Seagal's reality show.
According to federal court paperwork, a judge dismissed the lawsuit after plaintiff Jesus Llovera -- who had previously gotten rid of his attorney in the case -- didn't respond to the judge's orders to further the case.
Arpaio and his boys brought the dog-and-pony show to arrest a single cockfighting suspect, Llovera, in 2011. Llovera's also the guy who accused MCSO and Seagal of possibly murdering a puppy -- a claim that didn't show up in this lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, in addition to Seagal and his camera crew, MCSO brought along an armored tank, "at least" 30 deputies in "full riot gear," "ear-crushing diversionary bombs," and other stuff while ramming the gate to his property and smashing all the windows -- in full view of the cameras -- on their way in to arrest Llovera on a cockfighting charge.
MCSO said this raid was nothing out of the ordinary.
Perhaps it's coincidental, but the lawsuit was ordered to be dismissed within days of Llovera pleading guilty to charges.
Llovera's erstwhile lawyer told New Times in March that Llovera was on probation for a low-level misdemeanor he earned by watching a cockfight. Llovera didn't think he was barred from having animals as part of his probation, but the raid came after a detective said he saw and heard animals at Llovera's place the day before.
And after all that, producers for Seagal's show tried to get him to sign a release.
Llovera refused to sign the release, which pretty much ruined what the lawsuit calls Arpaio's urge "to subject Mr. Llovera to a very public and humiliating arrest in front of Seagal's cameras, even though he knew that Mr. Llovera had not violated any criminal statutes."
But the news still got out about Llovera's arrest because -- of course -- Arpaio sent out a press release, inviting the local news media to cover the spectacle.
When Llovera had accused Seagal and MCSO of killing his puppy, before this lawsuit, MCSO said Llovera was dangerous, and they were just taking precautions.
"Llovera was known to Sheriff's deputies and Phoenix Police to have potential ties to a Mexican drug cartel," an MCSO press release said. "He had been previously arrested on cockfighting charges. Sheriff's deputies were also warned that it was possible other drug cartel members might be present at Llovera's home so extra precautions in the deployment of personnel and equipment were taken to safeguard the operation."
Since Llovera didn't keep up prosecution in his lawsuit, it looks like the public will never know if Seagal's allowed to create an action-movie at their house if MCSO goes to arrest them.
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