Steven Seagal Not Front and Center During Joe Arpaio's Jail Shakedown. Sheriff Was Lovin' Seagal's A&E Camera Crew, Though

tents3.jpg
James King
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio displays the large amount of contraband he claims was discovered by detention officers over the last three days. He says the goodies are often thrown to inmates over a fence, or smuggled in by work release inmates.
Straight from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio: calling a press conference about a jail shakedown  -- when Hard to Kill star Steven Seagal just happens to be in town filming his new cop-u-drama Steven Seagal: Lawman at Joe's infamous Tent City -- was not a publicity stunt.

Only it was.

While we were shocked not to see Arpaio and Seagal together for a man-tastic embrace in front of the local media (Mason Storm was busy patting down work-release inmates returning to the jail at a different part of the compound) the A&E camera crews filming the event were lovin' them some Joe.

During the shakedown, during which New Times was granted access inside the jail as detention officers searched inmates and their bunks, Arpaio, it seems, was on the other side of the fence hammin' it up with Seagal's camera crew.
tents1.jpg
James King
MCSO detention officers shaking down an inmate's bunk.

As we were exiting the facility, Arpaio and several men wearing shirts with the words "Film Crew" written on the back were standing in front of a table covered in contraband (things like cigarettes, a cell phone, chewing tobacco -- a regular gulag goody-bag) that the sheriff claims were confiscated by MCSO detention officers over the last three days. The A&E cameras, of course, were rolling.

The large amount of contraband found in such a short period of time, the sheriff claims, was the reason for the press conference. Although, if the star of Under Siege weren't in town, we find it hard to believe that the sheriff would hold a press conference to announce how much shit was smuggled into the jail under his watch. "Hey guys, come see how bad we screwed up" just doesn't seem like a premise for which the sheriff would hold a news conference.

As we were leaving, a woman dropped off an inmate, which was a pretty stupid move considering she had an outstanding warrant for fraud.
tents2.jpg
James King
MCSO detention officers shaking down inmates. The sheriff says about 1,600 inmates will patted down as part of today's shakedown.

The woman was taken into custody by MCSO deputies -- with Joe and the camera crew filming about 20 yards away. Arpaio, you might imagine, had his back to the woman as she was being arrested. In other words, the arrest of a woman dumb enough to drop by a jail when she had warrants for her arrest was the perfect backdrop for America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff" -- and the camera crew for a big-time cable network.

When directly asked why he would hold a press conference about a jail shakedown while Seagal was in town, Arpaio claims "I think you all know I do things all the time. I don't stage. But what's the difference with that and Cops?...They're going around filming police knocking doors down. I don't see any problem with that."

Arpaio, in fact, does hold publicity stunts media events quite frequently. But we couldn't find one instance where he's held a press conference about a shakedown at one of his jails.

Seagal's absence from Joe's right hand was suspicious -- but we have a theory.

Arpaio, from the second we arrived, made it very clear that he was pretty pissed off at New Times (more so than usual, we'd say) over a blog post published on our Feathered Bastard blog this afternoon.

The announcement of the shakedown was made to the media earlier in the day, but the MCSO asked that members of the fourth estate not make it public until 5 p.m. -- when the shakedown was scheduled to take place.

Nope -- we published the information, as well as accusations of Arpaio's media-slutiness for holding a press conference as he staged a jail shakedown for a big-name movie star, at about 1 p.m. 

Arpaio flack Sergeant Brian Lee says the early announcement could have compromised the safety of jail employees. However, as the author of that blog post points out, "you can protect the safety of employees by NOT calling a news conference."

In any event, the early suspicion that the jail shakedown was all for the cameras may have spooked Arpaio into keeping his distance from Seagal when the sheriff addressed the media in an attempt to avoid looking like a media whore. That's our theory, anyway.

As for the results of the shakedown: we were only there for about 40 minutes of a shakedown that was billed to last several hours. During our time in the tents, detention officers confiscated precisely zero contraband.

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22 comments
Mikey1969
Mikey1969

Yeah, the heavily armed detention officer was not really necessary, for one, all the inmates were removed form the jail, you could see under all the bunks, and there's nowhere to hide, since it's all tents with the sides rolled up. Back in the 90's, I went to Pinal county jail on a couple of occasions for FTA and unpaid tickets. In all, I spent about 3 moths in that little slice o' heaven. We had a major shakedown while I was there, and once they got all of the inmates into a central location(In this case, we were distributed among the 2 day rooms in our tank), normally outfitted officers proceeded with the sweep. No need for drama since the JOEkester wasn't there.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

"Arpaio claims 'I think you all know I do things all the time. I don't stage.'"

Then why announce it before it happened? Isn't that staging?

Coz
Coz

Love the picture of the MCSO tough guy holding onto a shotgun while looking through a work release inmates bunk, too funny. Better watch out tough guy, I hear the bed bugs can be pretty brutal.

Fucking Arpaio is a joke and what's really sad is all of his MCSO clowns that play right along in the MCSO circus of fools.

Jack Meyhoffer
Jack Meyhoffer

What an embarrassment to law enforcement Sheriff Joke is. It is really a shame. There are good men and women who work at MCSO, but leadership is non-existent. It doesn't appear that MCSO can do their jobs without cameras there, and someone to high five them. Can anyone name five other AZ Sheriffs? No? That is correct, because they quietly do their jobs and don't get boners when cameras are around.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I have to wonder how much of the contraband they found was actually planted by them? If you don't believe it happens at MCSO just ask someone like Coz....

I also wonder how much is being paid to some detention officers when contraband is brought in by those who work outside during the day.

I also wonder how much is being paid to some detention officers to look the other way when contraband is "being thrown over the fence" by visitors.

If MCSO knows about these things being done, as the shurf alleges, shouldn't they be doing something to stop it, so they don't have to stage raids like this for A&E productions?

Guest, you must have something to say about this, yes?

XSoldier
XSoldier

Joe you really are a lying sack of shit and I cannot wait to see you do the fucking perp-walk.

I've got your perp-walk song all picked out, Joe. In fact, I've got a mix of perp-walk songs. Everything from Jay-Z to Elvis Presley to Linkin Park. Bet your ass on me being there blasting it while you are being perp-walked.

BTW, this comment extends to the FB blog.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

It appears the shurf has been so busy putting this together he hasn't had a chance to wash his hair again, apparently for days, or perhaps a week. His hair was clumped into gobs of strands during one of the many interviews during the day. Someone needs to show him the shower... he is such an embarrassment to us taxpayers...

Not surprised
Not surprised

My guess is we're going to be seeing alot of "staged" "operations," on our dollar, as long as Seagal's film crew keep giving Arpaio the airtime he craves...bet there is a film crew member whose new job title is "keep the primadonna happy and out of Seagal's hair."

WhoKnows
WhoKnows

I'm mad that Joke forgot about the trained pigeons! He even had DO's paint their claws pink so he could find the smugglers!

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

I noticed the weapon as well Coz. It seemed out of place since the inmates were removed and the tent was secure. Makes the search a little less efficient, but looks pretty serious for the camera.

Coz
Coz

Having the experience of MCSO planting evidence, I would probably say most of it.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Tommy,

I doubt that it is about getting a chance to was his hair. I suspect he just forgot. :-)

Coz
Coz

he gives new meaning to the term Pig.

XSoldier
XSoldier

Even if Joe had washed his hair, he doesn't use shampoo. Namely Pert Plus for fine or oily hair..... After all, Joe's head produces more oil than Texas.....

guest
guest

you're sort of immature, tommy. I'm glad that you're no longer in law enforcement. you embarrass us taxpayers. A real cop should be more professional than you are.

Coz
Coz

I remember that, that was funnier that hell.Only in Bozo Joe's world does things like that happen.

XSoldier
XSoldier

Just another piece in the corruption puzzle over at MCSO.....

I hope you told the federal GJ and all the state agencies what happened. Then I hope you sued the Old Fool..... I'd gladly pay you for that....

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Thank you, guest, for your anonymous comment. Honestly, I think the sheriff should take some pride in his appearance and he should present himself well since he represents all of those working for the agency. Paul Babeu does so. The Flaccid Fool of MCSO doesn't.

The irony, guest, is that his physical appearance is indicative of his mental state... many folks at his age forget the basics of life, such as hygiene. If he can't remember to clean himself and can't remember if he read a book he allegedly wrote, then how sharp can his mind actually be?

I hope I wrote this slowly enough for you to keep up, guest.

Rob
Rob

All law enforcement agencies have grooming standards. Many base their standards on the US Marine Corps grooming standards. I hardly think Arpaios' appearance would pass muster. Then again, I don't think Arpaio would last very long in a real organization like the Marines.

http://usmilitary.about.com/cs...

XSoldier
XSoldier

He claims he was in the Army. Yeah right Joe, I was in the Army and my hair had to be cut alot shorter than your hair.....

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