Actor Steven Seagal and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are facing a lawsuit for allegedly conducting an “improper” raid on a man’s home and driving a tank through his front gate, while filming an episode of the reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman.
Jesus Llovera has filed a civil lawsuit against Seagal and members of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for a raid conducted in March, 2011, based on allegations that Llovera was involved in cockfighting. Llovera filed a claim over the incident last fall.
Llovera, who previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of being present at a cockfight, was suspected of raising roosters and chickens on his property to fight, a felony, and also a violation of his probation.
The Sheriff’s Office, which used “a tank, a bomb robot and 40 deputies,” according to the Arizona Republic, accidentally killed over 100 of Llovera’s roosters and his 11-month old dog during the course of the raid.
Several cameras were there to film the incident for the A&E program. Afterwards, producers tried to get Llovera to sign a release for the episode. He refused.
Llovera’s suit claims that the raid was conducted for the purposes of the show, and is part of a pattern of Arpaio “arresting and prosecuting individuals without probable cause solely for the selfish and improper purposes of achieving personal and political gain through publicity,” the Republic reports.
“The search warrant was going to occur with or without Seagal,” sheriff’s Deputy Chief Dave Trombi previously said. “The search warrant was not based at all on the needs of the production company.”
The episode was supposed to air on A&E on January 4, but was pulled from the schedule.
Ed note: An earlier version of this piece said Llovera’s earlier claim was separate from the recently filed lawsuit. It was filed as part of the same process.