Arpaio defends Seagal's presence at cockfighting bust

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PHOENIX - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is facing criticism from some for his role on actor Steven Seagal's reality TV show.

With his cameras rolling, Seagal rode in an armored vehicle alongside SWAT teams as they arrested suspect Jesus Llovera in Laveen on March 9.

The tanks busted gates around the home and officers in riot gear broke windows and the front door. Llovera came out willingly with his hands up.

Afterward, neighbors like Howard Marshall questioned the massive show of force.

"With all the things going on the sheriff's using all those resources to deal with some chickens?" Marshall said.

While the suspect's attorney, Robert Campos, said Llovera was once arrested for attending a cockfight, he said his client has no history of violence or gun use. Still, Arpaio defends the heavy use of force.

"We had good intel that this guy could be armed," he said, "[The heavy equipment] was needed for officer protection."

"This was overkill," Campos said. "Just a show to help Steven Seagal. All theatrics, nothing less than that."

When asked if the bust would have been different if Seagal wasn't there, Arpaio responded, "This was an operation already planned for that day. It had nothing to do with Steven Seagal, other than he happened to be working with the SWAT team at the time."

It's unclear when the MCSO episodes of "Steven Seagal: Lawman" will air on A&E.