Sean Penn Armed Sheriff's Escort ... to Leave Dinner

1/7/2014 9:20 AM PST

Sean Penn -- Armed Sheriff's Escort ... to Leave Dinner


The Mission: Safely escort Sean Penn from the door at Craig's restaurant to his car (10 paces away) without a violent incident.

The Manpower: Three armed L.A. County Sheriff Deputies.

The Issue at Hand: Sean's a loose cannon and Craig's is surrounded by paparazzi. Sean doesn't take kindly to paparazzi. In fact, he likes to attack them.

So, was Sean able to walk 10 steps to his car -- with an armed escort -- without incident?

Watch the clip ...

8:01 AM PT -- The L.A. Sheriff's Dept. tells TMZ ... deputies responded to a call from Craig's around 11:08 PM, when restaurant staff reported a disturbance on the property.

We're told restaurant staffers explained that paparazzi were blocking the entrance way, preventing patrons from entering or exiting the restaurant ... so deputies came and cleared a path.