shit! it’s will sasso in a tank!

(Alternate post title: “Rainbow Six: Chicken Commando“)

To protect us from the evil scourge of cockfighting, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Steven Seagal staged a raid on a suspect…with dozens of SWAT ninjas in full kit, and an armored personnel carrier.

This is the kind of thing that makes law enforcement look like heavy-handed, jackbooted goonery.  No doubt they had camera crews with them, and that Sheriff Joe in fact decided to take all the sexy hardware along for the bust precisely because it’s photogenic.  But is this still “peace officer” work?

When you serve warrants and stage raids dressed and acting like you’re in urban combat in Fallujah, you look like an occupying army instead of community law enforcement officers, and then you can’t be surprised if people treat you like one.  Us vs. Them mindset, special rights and weapons for the King’s Men, overwhelming force by default in the name of “officer safety”, and the broadest leniency and benefit of the doubt when it comes to the use of force…I don’t see that kind of route to be a healthy one for public safety.

Is the job of the police officer a dangerous one? No doubt.  Are most police officers like Sheriff Joe and his tank-riding cockfight-busting ninjas?  Hell no.  But am I the only one who finds serving a cock-fighting warrant with a fucking tank and a platoon of SWAT just a tad excessive?  What kind of attitude does that kind of swagger generate toward the police?

Tens of thousands in taxpayer money spent on some flash bang theater. Thousands of dollars in property damage.  One unarmed suspect arrested. 115 chickens euthanized on the spot. Well done, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  Well done, indeed.

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15 thoughts on “shit! it’s will sasso in a tank!

  1. PhillipC says:

    It is excessive, in fact the majority of SWAT uses are excessive. It needs to be scaled back to the original uses. There shouldn’t be SWAT units in every small town and county.

  2. Bob says:

    If you go to Sheriff Joe’s Facebook page and scroll down to the March 9th entry, you’ll see that he refers to it as a “rooster fighting operation”:

    “Just returned from the scene of a rooster fighting operation in Laveen where posse member Steven Segal was assisting our Deputies.”

    None dare call it cock.

  3. Robyn Banx says:

    Perhaps the legal monopoly on the use of deadly force should become somewhat restricted.

    I’m thinking here of restricting the exercise of the monopoly to even numbered days. Odd numbered days? Sure, go to it.

    Even numbered days? Nope, you’ll have some time to think it through for tomorrow.

    Oh! It was all for TV? Okay then, fuggedaboudit.

  4. Glamdring says:

    Is that real?!? I mean I googled it but I’m like going is it April 1 already? Or maybe The Onion?

    If this it not a stunt, I don’t know what to say.

    But it REALLY reminds me of Waco. Publicity & money.

  5. George says:

    “Is that real?!”

    Unfortunately, it’s for reals. Segal is actually a reserve popo deputy or something (yes, I think he’s utterly useless and a classless jackwagon except for his one or two funny scenes in Under Siege and the Mountain Dew commercial)

    Rumblings from the locals of Sherrif Joe’s area indicate he’s got some serious issues of respect ma authoritah type stuff going on. While I appreciate his stance on some issues…what doesn’t get told near as much seems to be quite damning.

  6. GD says:

    No, you aren’t the only one that thinks it is excessive. I used to watch the Dallas/Detroit SWAT programs (A&E, I think?) and they would irritate me mightily. A dozen cops who think they are commandos rolling up on a duplex in armored vans and pulling the ENTIRE FRONT WALL off the house, only to find no one home… or a little weed… or some other nonsense. Oh, and the poor family/kids in the duplex next door scared to death.
    Its all egregious. Egregious violence, egregious property damage, egregious waste of resources… I can’t understand how seemingly educated leaders of major metropolitan police forces cannot understand how damaging this is to their reputation.

  7. Jay G. says:

    Marko,

    I’ll reiterate. The small town (pop. ~ 6K people) next to mine recently (like in the past five years or so) purchased full-auto hardware for their police department.

    They bought select fire machine guns.

    For a small town where the biggest crimes those cops are likely to see are exceeding the speed limit and underage drinking.

    Why did they get machine guns?

    Because they can.

    Some animals are more equal than others…

  8. Tam says:

    Hey, they’ve gotta use SWAT teams for this stuff. I mean, how many actual “Barricaded violent suspect w/hostages” calls does your average department get in a year anyway?

    Can’t just have those cool toys sitting around gathering dust, can we?

  9. Kommander says:

    I live in Maricopa County. It is unfortunate that Sheriff Joe continues to be elected but I understand why. His hardline on illegals and criminals in his jails is very popular in certain circles while his opponents in the last few election have not exactly been stellar either. It’s really too bad.

  10. abnormalist says:

    it could always be worse, this made big press in Detroit last year.

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/05/17/detroit-girl-7-killed-in-swat

    Swat raided a house, flash bang caught a little girl on fire, swat team “accidentally” shot her to death. They were apprehending a murder suspect, who went without issue.

    Oh did I mention that a reality TV camera crew was with them?

  11. Al Terego says:

    “His hardline on illegals…in his jails is very popular.”

    Sheriff Joe for INS commissioner, southern division.*

    AT

    *and get his silly publicity-whoring ass out of the business of warehousing pot smokers and domestic lowtones.

  12. Guffaw in AZ says:

    I, too, live in Joe’s jurisdiction. If he’d just enforce the law, keep his mouth shut, stop grandstanding, and keep his deputies abuse lawsuits to a minimum, he’d be okay. Not wonderful, but okay. We must remember, when he was a Fed (DEA) he was known as ‘Nickle bag Joe’, never let anyone slide, but didn’t go after heavy-hitters, either. Too dangerous.

  13. Außenseiter says:

    Hmm… select fire weapons?

    In Slovakia, after one loner shot dead seven neighbors and then wounded some officers with a type-58 (converted to semi auto), the interior minister ordered all cops to carrytype-58’s. Looked kind of ridiculous, like when soldiers used to patrol the historical centre of Bratislava because of ‘terrorism risks’.

    I think they modified the order somehow after two cops forgot their assault rifles in public, one on a gas station and the other one on a bus stop. Too bad, I was kind of hoping I’d chance upon a forgotten one. The select-fire ones are impossible to get unless you have police connections.

  14. Rob says:

    Are most police officers like Sheriff Joe and his tank-riding cockfight-busting ninjas? Hell no.

    You know, I’m not so sure about that. It’s starting to look like LawDog and Matt G. are the exceptions, not the rule. This shit happens way too often, otherwise.

  15. MPH says:

    Yep, policing is dangerous .. for the public.

    I read something recently in which deaths of police officers and caused by police officers was examined. When you looked at officers shot or knifed and killed and compared it to members of the public for which there was no arrest warrant or probable cause to arrest (ie, innocent bystanders, wrong house raided victims, etc.), the kill ratio is like 16 to 1 – for every cop killed in the line of duty, 16 innocent people are killed by the police.

    The article appeared accurate, based on its attributions and data sources. I may not have recalled the ratio correctly, but I recall that of the 2,000+ people killed by the police, 1,000+ turned out to be cases of the police killed someone they shouldn’t have even shot at (the data looked at a single recent year). Alas, I have been unable to find it again to provide a link.

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