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Tag: U.S. Marshals

Grand Jury Indicts U.S. Marshal, Georgia Police Officer in Death of Man Shot 76 Times

By Steve Neavling

A U.S. Marshal and Georgia police officer were indicted by a grand jury for their role in the 2016 killing of a man shot dozens of times while trying to make a fugitive arrest. 

Eric Heinze, an assistant chief inspector with the U.S. Marshal’s Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, and Clayton County Police Office Kristopher Hutchens were indicted on felony murder charges, along with counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, making false statements and violation of oath by a public officer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Jamarion Robinson, a 26-year-old college student who family members said suffered from mental illness, was shot 76 times when officers with a U.S. Marshals task force tried to enter his apartment with warrants on Aug. 5, 2016. He was wanted for allegedly pointing a gun at Atlanta officers and fleeing. 

East Point police said Robinson shot once at officers, who then returned fire. 

Prosecutors said the investigation was difficult because there were no body cameras and the officers refused to cooperate. 

Questions Raised about Discipline for High-Ranking U.S. Marshals Allegedly Caught in At-Work Rendezvous

By Steve Neavling

Two high-ranking officials with the U.S. Marshals Service are accused of having sex at the agency’s Virginia headquarters, and a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of federal employees wants more information on the alleged tryst.  

The Federal Managers Association is exploring how the “senior” officials were disciplined compared to rank-and-file employees, The New York Post reports.

The group sought more details of the alleged rendezvous in a Freedom of Information Act request. 

“The more specific recent activity we seek documentation on involves serious allegations of sexual misconduct by two agency employees within the senior ranks, purportedly at the Agency’s headquarters complex (i.e. in taxpayer funded office space), that may have occurred on official time,” states the letter, referring to the Marshals headquarters in Arlington, Va.

In the request, FMA wrote that employees are concerned about the “evenhandedness” of discipline. 

“A high number of managers across the workforce have raised as a concern the evenhandedness with which the Agency applies discipline between executives and rank and file. This particular case is being cited as an example where it may not be occurring,” FMA wrote in the Sept. 28 request.

The at-work tryst allegedly occurred in June or July. The officials are not identified. 

One of the officials was granted “extended special leave.”

“We are most interested in understanding if the approval pre-dated the employee’s alleged sexual activity with who we understand to be a lower-grade employee also assigned to the headquarters complex,” FMA wrote. 

The U.S. Marshals declined to comment on the specific allegations. 

“As a federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Marshals Service demands high standards of personal conduct from our employees,” spokesman Drew Wade wrote in an email. “We take seriously any allegation of misconduct by our personnel.

“As a matter of policy, USMS does not discuss personnel matters. However, all credible allegations are investigated and appropriate disciplinary actions are taken, if warranted.”

Deputy U.S. Marshal Killed in Car Crash While on Duty

Deputy U.S. Marshal Jared Keyworth

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal died in an on-duty car crash near Florence, Mississippi, while he was helping with an enforcement mission. 

Jared Keyworth, who was stationed in Baton Rouge, was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson on Sept. 28, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.

“The U.S. Marshals Service is deeply saddened by the loss of SI Keyworth. We are a close-knit family and Jared’s loss will be felt throughout the entire organization,” USMS Director Ronald L. Davis said in a statement. “This tragedy is a reminder of the inherent risks our men and women face on a daily basis.”

Details of the car crash weren’t immediately available.

Keyworth, an 11-year veteran of USMS, was a member of the Marshals Service’s Investigative Operations Division. 

DOJ Rolls Out Use of Body-Worn Cams for FBI, DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals

Photo: Shutterstock

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department is beginning to rollout the use of body-worn cameras for federal law enforcement officials.

ATF agents in Phoenix and FBI agents in Detroit began wearing the cameras Wednesday during pre-planned operations. 

The FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals will continue to roll out the first phase of body-worn cams over the next several weeks. 

In June, the Justice Department announced that federal agents will be required to wear body cameras while serving arrest warrants and executing raids. At the time, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a memo that the agencies had 30 days to submit plans governing the use of body cams. 

“Keeping our communities safe is a top priority for the Justice Department,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement Wednesday. “Law enforcement is at its most effective when there is accountability and trust between law enforcement and the community. That is why we have expanded our body worn camera program to our federal agents, to promote transparency and confidence, not only with the communities we serve and protect, but also among our state, local and Tribal law enforcement partners who work alongside our federal agents each day.”

In a news release, the heads of the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals said they were looking forward to outfitting their law enforcement officers and agents with body cams. 

“ATF welcomes the use of body worn cameras by our agents,” Acting ATF Director Marvin G. Richardson said. “The department’s policy reflects ATF’s commitment to transparency as we work to reduce firearm violence in our communities.”

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said, “The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to the safety and security of the people we serve, our agents, and task force officers. We welcome the addition of body worn cameras and appreciate the enhanced transparency and assurance they provide to the public and to law enforcement officers working hard to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “The FBI remains committed to meeting the need for transparency. Phasing in the use of BWCs is another, important way for us to meet that need.”

Director Donald Washington of the U.S. Marshals Service said, “We continue striving to fortify the public’s trust in our responsibility to uphold the rule of law while keeping communities safe as we have for more than two centuries. Body worn cameras increase the transparency of law enforcement activities, and we will work to obtain the necessary resources to fully execute our body-worn camera program.”

By the end of the year, about a third of Border Patrol agents will wear body cameras, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced in August.

In October 2020, the Justice Department announced that state and local law enforcement may begin wearing body cameras during some join operations with federal law enforcement. 

U.S. Marshals Rescue 19 Missing, Endangered Children During 4-Month Operation

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By Steve Neavling

Nineteen missing and endangered children were rescued during a four-month, U.S. Marshals Service-led operation in the New Orleans area. 

Dubbed “This Is The Way Home,” the operation focused on missing and endangered runaways between March 1 and June 30. 

Nine adults were arrested in connection with the missing children. 

One of the recovered teens, a 16-year-old runaway, was wanted by police in Tennessee on warrants for possession of a firearm, evading arrest, narcotics violations, theft and violation of juvenile probation. 

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, which assisted, seized more than $17,500 in cash, seven firearms, and drugs. 

“This was a joint operation with our local, state, and federal partners and teamwork and information sharing made these results possible,”  Scott Illing, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana, said in a news release. “I am extremely proud that the U.S. Marshals Service was tasked with the mission of locating missing and exploited children. 

“While 19 recoveries may not seem high, this work, which is time consuming, was accomplished while also running our normal day-to-day violent felony offender investigations across 13 parishes. A sex offender fugitive operation (NO Saints and Sinners 2021) was also ongoing in the district at the same time resulting in over 35 additional felony arrests, along with our other judicial missions. Our local, state, and federal partners embrace the opportunity to conduct such meaningful operations for the community, in addition to their more traditional law enforcement activities to combat the rise in violent crime.” 

Deputy U.S. Marshal Won’t Be Charged for Fatally Shooting Suspect in North Carolina

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal who fatally shot a man at a Charlotte, N.C., gas station in March won’t be charged, a district attorney said Tuesday. 

Eric Tillman, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service, was trying to serve multiple warrants at a gas station when he fired three rounds at Frankie Jennings, The Charlotte Observer reports.

In a letter to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief, Mecklenburg County District Attorney Spencer Merriweather III said a struggle had ensued between Tillman and Jennings at the driver’s side door of Jennings’ black Mercedes. After Jennings put the car in gear, causing the vehicle to move forward, Jennings’ “hands reaching toward a gun in the center console cupholder,” prompting Tillman to fire three shots at him. 

Jennings died at the scene, and a loaded handgun was found in his car’s center console, Merriweather wrote. 

“Given the corroborated evidence that Senior Inspector Tillman was reasonable in his belief that he and other officers faced an imminent threat of great bodily harm or death, the evidence in this case would be insufficient to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Senior Inspector Tillman did not act in defense of himself or another,” Merriweather wrote.

“Consequently, I will not be seeking charges related to the death of Frankie Jennings.”

Jennings had a total of 16 warrants from three different cities. 

Federal Law Enforcement Agencies ‘Unprepared’ for Body Cameras, IG Says

Body cams, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

Federal law enforcement agencies are “generally unprepared “ to adopt the widespread use of body cameras, according to a new report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The report comes after the Justice Department said earlier this month that it would begin requiring federal agents to wear body cameras while executing raids and serving arrest warrants.

In the last decade, the Justice Department issued $150 million in grants for camera programs, but none of that money went to the ATF, FBI, DEA, or U.S. Marshals Service. 

“Given the demonstrated benefits of BWC programs, their widespread use by law enforcement agencies across the country, the Components’ substantial involvement in street-level enforcement activity, the public’s increasing expectation that objective video evidence be available in law enforcement interactions with the public—especially those involving use of force—and recent legislation introduced by Congress that would require federal LEOs to use BWCs, we believe that the DOJ should carefully reassess its lack of BWC programs for DOJ LEOs and pursue the actions necessary to prepare for program implementation,” the report says.

In March, the U.S. House approved the Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act, which requires federal law enforcement to wear body cameras. 

3 U.S. Marshals Charged in COVID-19 Vaccination Dispute with Judge

A federal judge charged three members of the U.S. Marshals Service with contempt of court and obstructing justice over a dispute about COVID-19 vaccinations in South Dakota. 

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann lashed out at the supervisory law enforcement officers on Monday for allegedly permitting a deputy marshal to escort prisoners from a courtroom after refusing to disclose whether she had been vaccinated, The Washington Post reports.

The agency’s Chief of Staff John Kilgallon, South Dakota Marshal Daniel C. Mosteller, and Deputy South Dakota Marshal Stephen Houghtaling were charged in the dispute. 

“This was such an outrageous thing to do,” the judge said. “Nothing like this that we could find has ever been done in this country. If it is the marshals’ position that they can override court orders, they are badly mistaken.”

Kornmann is asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute the case. 

In a letter to federal officials in March, Kornmann said he expects to be informed of the vaccination status of people who work in the courthouse. 

“We are not talking about politics or conspiracy theories. We are talking about science and protecting all of us who serve the public here as well as the jurors, lawyers and parties who come to this building,” Kornmann wrote. “If you are refusing to take the vaccines, I want to know that so I can decide what further action is required on my part.”