Sheriff blasts 'Dog' bounty hunter's tactics

DENVER Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:17am EDT

Duane 'Dog' Chapman (L) and his wife Beth Chapman listen to testimony before the International Affairs Committee of the Hawaii State Legislature in Honolulu, March 7, 2007, as he tries to gain support for his fight against extradition to Mexico. REUTERS/Lucy Pemoni

Duane 'Dog' Chapman (L) and his wife Beth Chapman listen to testimony before the International Affairs Committee of the Hawaii State Legislature in Honolulu, March 7, 2007, as he tries to gain support for his fight against extradition to Mexico.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Pemoni

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DENVER (Reuters) - Celebrity bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman received a scathing public rebuke from a western Colorado sheriff, who accused the flamboyant reality TV star of reckless showmanship in bringing his latest bail-jumper to justice.

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said Chapman engaged in "profit-driven peacockery" and disregarded public safety when he delivered the injured, pepper-sprayed 29-year-old fugitive to the county jail on Wednesday while TV cameras rolled.

"While Dog stayed outside, shirtless and sweaty, prancing back and forth waving his golden locks for the camera, his team brought this freshly pepper-sprayed fellow into the enclosed space of the Sheriff's Office lobby with other citizens present," Hilkey wrote in a blog posting.

"They also brought him in injured."

Hilkey said arrestees who have been chemically sprayed must be de-contaminated and medically cleared before they are booked into the jail, "especially (for) injuries that are inflicted by a non-governmental employee subject to no policy or use of policy restrictions."

Andrew Distel was wanted on failure-to-appear warrants on drug possession charges, sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Benjamin told Reuters. He was booked into the Mesa County jail after being treated by paramedics.

Chapman stars on the A&E cable network show "Dog the Bounty Hunter," which features the former convict, his wife and other members of his bounty-hunting team as they chase down and apprehend bail jumpers and other fugitives. His unorthodox methods and antics have stirred controversy in the past.

In 2003, Chapman was detained by Mexican authorities after they said he violated that country's laws in nabbing fugitive rapist Andrew Luster, an heir to the Max Factor cosmetic fortune. Charges against Chapman in that incident were ultimately dropped.

A&E suspended production of Chapman's show in 2007 after an audiotape surfaced of Chapman making racial slurs about his son's African-American girlfriend during a telephone call. The series resumed after Chapman made a tearful public apology to the black community.

Two years later, Chapman accused a wanted man in Colorado Springs, Colorado, of firing a gun at him and his crew as they tried to apprehend him. Authorities there declined to press charges against the man, saying there was insufficient evidence to back up Chapman's claims.

Earlier this month, the celebrity website posted a video of Chapman and his crew scuffling with other men at a Breckenridge, Colorado, restaurant as they attempted to locate a fugitive. The video shows Chapman engaging in a profanity-laced exchange with another man during the dust-up.

After Wednesday's incident, the sheriff also took a swipe at Chapman's wife, Beth, whom he said falsely accused deputies of releasing Distel when they refused to admit him until he was de-contaminated. Hilkey said his officers merely required the Chapmans to follow jail policy.

"There's no special pass for their celebrity status," he said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (5)
“Profit-driven peacockery.” Sheriff Hilkey deserves to be re-elected based on his lovely turn of phrase alone.

Jul 22, 2011 1:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
englishsunset wrote:
I haven’t watched “Dog” for a long time nor do I watch any “reality” shows, but in this case it seems this is more about the sheriff being shown up. Not to support “Dog” [he certainly doesn’t need my support}. nor am I not supporting him, it is just that he n the law can’t, won’t and don’t. I would think and hope law enforcement would welcome any and all help they can get…especially during these times of fiscal strain.

Jul 22, 2011 1:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AdeleInTexas wrote:
Well, this Texan will have to go with SageOnTheHudson. “Profit-driven peacokery” is impressive wordsmithing from a county sheriff!

I have never watched “Dog”, englishsunset, because quite frankly he, his wife, his family and his crew ALL look as if they’re in serious need of a scrubbing down with lye soap and as a “EuropeanAmerican” (that’s white to anyone who can’t figure it out) they’re an embarrassment because if ever there was a poster group for white trash, they’re it!

You REALLY think the sheriff was worried about being shown up by Rocky in drag or would you consider that the sheriff MIGHT have had genuine concern about this greasy-looking, seedy imbecile creating serious liability for the county – and in the process also placing innocent bystanders in harm’s way all in the name of “the show must go on”?

Jul 22, 2011 5:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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