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Grand Jury Finds Federal Officer Justified in Killing Fugitive Who Shot at Him

By Steve Neavling

A grand jury found that a member of a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force did nothing wrong when he fatally shot a fugitive who shot at him and fellow officers at a New Jersey apartment, NJ Advance Media reports.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability investigated the case and presented it to the grand jury. 

The federal officer was identified as ICE Deportation Officer Sean Clayton. 

The shooting occurred on July 8, 2020, when Clayton and others on the U.S. Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force arrived at an apartment to arrest Canty, who was wanted on a parole violation and was suspected of fatally beating his former girlfriend in Harlem.

Once inside the apartment, the task force took several occupants, including children, to a front room. 

“Officers then heard and observed a person in a rear bedroom, recognizing him as Mr. Canty. The officers asked Mr. Canty to walk towards them, but he did not comply. Instead he closed the bedroom door,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

When the task force opened a bedroom door, Canty was pointing a gun at officers. 

“Mr. Canty then fired in the direction of the officers. Officer Clayton returned fire, fatally wounding Mr. Canty,” the statement said.

Canty, who died at the scene, had a loaded 9mm handgun. 

“After considering the facts, evidence, and testimony from the (Office of Public Integrity and Accountability) investigation, the state grand jury found the actions of the officer were justified and therefore no charges should be brought against the officer,” according to the attorney general’s office statement. “An officer may use deadly force in New Jersey when the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary to protect the officer or another person from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.”


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