Seagal's production company told to release video of MCSO raid - CBS 5 - KPHO

Seagal's production company told to release video of MCSO raid

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Steven Seagal, right Steven Seagal, right

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's massive operation last March in Laveen brought a major show of force to arrest one, unarmed man inside a home.

Jesus Llovera is suspected of raising chickens for cockfighting.

Llovera's attorney Robert Campos insists his client's Hollywood-style arrest was completely unnecessary. He says the massive display was solely to set the stage for actor Steven Seagal, who rode along in full gear for his reality show, "Lawman."

ITV, the production company behind "Lawman," had four cameras rolling throughout the operation. A judge ordered the company to release the 20 DVDs of footage recorded to Campos, in the interest of his client. Campos says he received only four DVDs and believes hours of footage are missing. 

"What we did receive clearly shows that this was a waste of manpower, this was a waste of taxpayer money. This was overkill," claims Campos.

Sergeant Dave Trombi, a spokesman for MCSO, says execution of the department's search warrant was a go, with or without Seagal and the cameras.  We also asked about the cost of the operation.

"We don't necessarily break out costs, so I don't really have a good answer for you as to what it costs. I think the better question is what would it cost if we didn't use the personnel that we did."

No one would argue precautions in serving search warrants are necessary.

However, two armored tanks, a bomb squad, a bomb robot, several K-9 units and dozens of tactical operations members were on hand, all to arrest a man with no violent past. An off-camera deputy involved in the operation can be heard on the tapes confirming they knew Llovera was alone.

Trombi says that point is irrelevant. "How many people does it take to pull the trigger of a gun?" he said.

Because Llovera was already on probation for being present at a cockfighting event, his probation officer could have called him into the office, and he would have been taken into custody.

But that, says Campos, "doesn't make for good TV."

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