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Arkansas Prosecutor Concludes ATF Agents, Police Used Appropriate Deadly Force in Malinowski Raid

ATF Agent (ATF/Released)
June 17, 2024

A local prosecutor in Little Rock, Arkansas has concluded agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) used appropriate lethal force when they shot and killed airport executive Bryan Malinowski on March 19.

“On April 23, 2024, the Sixth Judicial District received the investigative review file from the Arkansas State Police (ASP) regarding the officer involved shooting incident that occurred at 4 Durance Court, Little Rock, Arkansas on March 19, 2024,” Pulaski County Prosecutor Will Jones announced on Friday, June 14. “After a review of the documents, statements, and evidence provided, we find that the agent’s use of deadly force was justified pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-610.”

ATF agents and officers with the Little Rock Police Department took part in the raid at around 6 a.m. on March 19. The law enforcement team covered over a doorbell camera at Malinowski’s home shortly before breaking down his door and killing him.

Malinowski’s family and Congressional Republicans have called into question aspects of the raid and whether ATF agents properly identified themselves or otherwise gave fair verbal warnings before Malinowski allegedly met them with deadly force inside his home.

While the U.S. Department of Justice indicated agents and officers involved in the raid weren’t wearing body cameras, Jones said the Little Rock Police Department’s Mobile Video Recorder was present and captured some of the events of the raid. Jones provided the following new timeline of events, based on this reported recording:

  • 6:02:58 a.m. The Little Rock patrol officer employed his vehicle’s emergency lights and siren to announce the presence of law enforcement.
  • 6:02:59 a.m. ATF agents began a series of knocking and announcing ATF presence.’
  • 6:03:27 a.m. Agents use a ram to breach the door.
  • 6:03:43 a.m. Mr. Malinowski fires the first of four shots from his Colt Defender .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
  • 6:03:44 a.m. ATF agent returns fire; discharging three shots from his agency issued M4.

Jones also provided a more detailed recounting of events once ATF agents entered Malinowksi’s home, based on the account of a witness whom he did not identify.

“After knocking and announcing their presence, agents breached the door using a battering ram. The agents were dressed in khaki pants, dark colored shirts with the ATF shield imprinted on the left side, the words ‘ATF POLICE’ imprinted on the right side, and bullet-proof vests with ‘ATF POLICE’ across the front. The first agent (Agent 1) to enter the residence looked to his left and saw Mr. Malinowski at the end of the hallway pointing the handgun at him. The agent immediately dropped to the ground and rolled to avoid potential gunfire. The second agent to enter (Agent 2) saw Mr. Malinowski firing downwards at Agent 1. At this time, Agent 2 was struck in the foot. As Mr. Malinowski raised his gun towards Agent 2, Agent 2 fired, striking Mr. Malinowski. Immediately after the shooting, officers requested emergency personnel and begin administering medical aid to Mr. Malinowski.”

Jones said a law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly physical force if that officer reasonably believes that the use of force is necessary to defend himself or another third person from the use of deadly force.

Jones did not specify what verbal warnings the law enforcement officers and agents gave.

Bud Cummins, an attorney representing the Malinowski family, made note of the 28-second gap between the ATF agents reportedly knocking on his door and announcing their presence before ramming down his door.

“How long is it reasonable to wait for someone to answer their front door at 6 a.m. in response to unexplained loud pounding in a 3,000 square foot fully insulated home? Let’s pray the answer isn’t 28 seconds. The Fourth Amendment means more than that to every single one of us,” Cummins said in a statement shared with various media outlets.

Cummins said the Malinowski family’s questions and concerns about the raid are “far from over” despite Jones’s conclusions that the ATF agents used deadly force appropriately.

This article was originally published by FreeBase News and is reprinted with permission.