PHOENIX (CN) – Joe Arpaio, the publicity-hungry sheriff of Maricopa County, staged a media event by bursting into a man’s home and accusing him of running an illegal chop shop, though Arpaio was simply serving a warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket, a man claims in Maricopa County Court.
Terry Jorgensen claims Arpaio also seized more than $100,000 in tools and jet skis and refused to return them, driving Jorgensen out of business and making him homeless.
In his pro se, but cogent, complaint, Jorgensen says Arpaio staged the raid on Feb. 6, 2003, then on April 6, 2006, charged him with six felonies, including running a chop shop. Jorgensen claims that in August 2007, “Superior Court Judge Roza Mroz ruled that the search warrant violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search, dismissed the case, and ordered the return of plaintiff’s property. Although plaintiff has a court order for its return, the MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) refuses to return a single item.”
Jorgensen says he was earning $100,000 a year when Arpaio staged his raid and ruined his business. He claims Arpaio’s stunt cost him more than $500,000 and made him homeless.
Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “Toughest Sheriff in America,” has made national news for years by, among other things, putting prisoners to work on chain gangs and housing them in tents.