Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Steven Seagal to train posse in how to respond to school shootings, because that is a decision that makes total sense

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been out of the headlines for a few months now, which is probably a good thing since when he does show up it's usually for embarrassing things like investigating Obama's birth certificate or failing to maintain decent living conditions in prison.  Or abusing his power to launch illegal investigations of political rivals. Or somehow managing to violate election laws while not actively running for office.  Or creating a fake assassination plot against himself which caused an innocent man to be locked up for years.  You get the point.  That last one is totally real, by the way, and after reading it I'm amazed that Arpaio is not in prison, let alone working in law enforcement as the Sheriff of Maricopa county.  Anyway, he's back in the news, and here's why:

MARICOPA -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is planning a training exercise aimed at helping his volunteer posse members respond to school shootings.

Arpaio's exercise Saturday at a closed school site in suburban Fountain Hills will simulate scenarios for posse members who volunteered for patrols that the sheriff launched last month just outside schools to guard against shootings.

So, to clarify, here's the timeline:
  1. People express concern about school safety.
  2. Arpaio deploys an armed "posse" to hang around outside schools.
  3. Arpaio trains the posse.
  4. No, I did not switch steps two and three.
Anyway, that's not even the important part.  Guess which law enforcement expert Arpaio got to run this training exercise:

Action-film star and posse member Steven Seagal will serve as an instructor at the event.

I was curious if Arpaio and Seagal had any history of working together, because otherwise it'd be a pretty odd choice (or, rather, a more odd choice).  As it turns out, they have, and it's weird:

You guys did what?
So, what happened there, guys?

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and actor Steven Seagal deny accusations by a Phoenix man and his lawyer that a family dog was killed during a raid for Seagal's reality TV show.

Sounds really illegal! 

The sheriff's office said in a news release the allegation is without merit. Seagal added he's outraged.

The action movie actor was participating in the raid as a special deputy sheriff for his show "Steven Seagal Lawman" on the A&E cable channel. His movie credits include "Under Siege," "Above the Law" and "Fire Down Below."

If you're denying illegal behavior relating to a police raid performed in the course of a reality show, you probably would rather not have a movie called "Above the Law" listed among your credits.

According to witnesses at the raid, a dog was present on Jesus Llovera's property when deputies and SWAT team members, including Seagal, entered the premises with a search warrant to arrest Llovera on cockfighting charges and seize all evidence pertaining to the crime.

Arpaio said there's no evidence to back up the claim that his officers killed a dog.

"If my deputies, or posse man Seagal for that matter, had done something so awful like shooting a family dog, then where are the photos to prove it?" Arpaio asked.

Pretty convenient that you guys were the only people who could have photographed that, huh?  Anyway, how did this all go down?  Seems like there shouldn't be much collateral damage in your typical execution of a search warrant.

In Llovera's claim, the sheriff's office and Seagal are accused of setting off explosives to create a distraction and confusion. 

At this point, this can't possibly get more outrageous, right?

The claim says Seagal was free to commandeer a tank and crash through an iron gate on the southeast corner of Llovera's property in southwest Phoenix.

So the plan was to set off explosions to create a distraction, bust in the front door, and have Seagal run over an iron gate with a tank, so that you could arrest one person.  If I had to guess whether this was a real life thing or the plot of a Seagal movie, I would have guessed movie, because as soon as I saw the words "tank" and "search warrant" in the same article I assumed that no one would really do this.

In an interview with KTAR Radio in Phoenix during the March raid, Seagal said he was there to help guard one side of Llovera's house.

"We're just sort of, you know, trying to guard one side of the house and see if anybody would run out or anything like that or, do anything worse than that," Seagal said. "We're kind of just doing that and I didn't really enter the house today."

"I was just securing the perimeter, you know, standard procedure.  With a tank.  Yes, that's normal."

Given the tremendous success of Arpaio and Seagal's previous collaborations, it makes total sense to have Seagal lead training exercises for Arpaio's new school posse.  The only real question at this point is which of Seagal and Arpaio is less qualified to be working in law enforcement.  On the one hand, Seagal unnecessarily used a tank in a police operation and doesn't appear to possess any real qualifications; on the other hand, Arpaio, as sheriff, permitted this to happen.  It's a conundrum!  A depressing one, if you live in Maricopa and aren't a fan of Steven Seagal knocking your gate down with a tank.

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