(UPDATE: Article is from 2004.) A Phoenix SWAT team armed with tear gas, plenty of guns, and an armored personnel carrier stormed a house, burned it down, and killed the family dog. They were looking for illegal weapons, but found none. However, they did capture a 26-year-old man who had failed to appear in Tempe Municipal Court on two traffic violations.
In less than 30 minutes, [Maricopa County Sheriff Joe] Arpaio's special forces unleashed an unprecedented wave of violence on this quiet community. Consider this:
• Just after the tear gas canisters were shot, a fire erupted and destroyed a $250,000 home plus all the contents inside. (The home's occupants believe the tear gas canisters caused the fire. Phoenix fire officials say the blaze was probably started by a lighted candle that was knocked onto a bed during the confusion.)
• The armored personnel carrier careened down the street and smashed into a parked car after its brakes failed.
• And in the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.
Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog's owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.
And what did Arpaio's crack SWAT team net from the raid that left a needless trail of death and destruction?
MCSO stormed the house believing there was a cache of stolen automatic weapons and armor-piercing ammunition. But MCSO got bushwhacked. Instead of finding weapons of mass destruction, they discovered an antique shotgun and a 9 mm pistol that appear to be legal weapons.
There was no sign of the cop-killer bullets. Perhaps they are buried somewhere out in the desert, with Saddam's plutonium.