Little Rock Whitewash: Prosecuting Attorney Declares ATF Use of Force Justified in Citizen Killing

by Tommy Grant

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TVH 11 in Little Rock, Arkansas, reported yesterday that Will Jones, the prosecuting attorney for the Sixth Judicial District, declared that the use of deadly force during an ATF raid on Bryan Malinowski’s home in Little Rock was justified under Arkansas law. The case has been followed extensively by the Second Amendment Foundation, TTAG and other pro-gun media outlets. Jones’ statement follows inquiries from four Arkansas Republican congressmen and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who requested documents from the Arkansas State Police regarding the raid.

The incident occurred on March 19, when ATF agents and Arkansas law enforcement executed a search warrant on Malinowski’s residence, suspecting him of illegally selling firearms without a license. Malinowski, who reportedly fired at the agents, was shot in the head during the raid and succumbed to his injuries two days later.

According to an affidavit, Malinowski sold at least six firearms that were later recovered in various crimes across the U.S., and three of these firearms were purchased by undercover ATF agents. Malinowski, however, wasn’t just some criminal schlepp, he was executive director of the Little Rock airport and reportedly sold and collected firearms as a hobby.

Jones provided a detailed timeline of the raid in his letter to ATF Special Agent Joshua Jackson:

– Pre-raid: ATF agents were seen covering the home’s doorbell camera.

– 6:02:58 a.m.: A Little Rock patrol officer announced the law enforcement presence using his car’s lights and siren.

– 6:02:59 a.m: ATF agents began knocking on the front door.

– 6:03:27 a.m.: Agents used a ram to breach the door.

– 6:03:43 a.m.: Malinowski fired the first of four shots from his Colt Defender .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

– 6:03:44 a.m.: An ATF agent returned fire, shooting three times from his M4 and getting injured.

Post-raid, Arkansas State Police officials searched the home and surrounding area for evidence and interviewed witnesses.

Jones explained that Arkansas law justifies a law enforcement officer’s use of deadly force if the officer reasonably believes it is necessary to defend against deadly force. He emphasized that the officers identified themselves by knocking and using lights and sirens and wore attire marked with “ATF” or “POLICE.” When Malinowski shot at the agents, the return of fire by the second agent was deemed a “reasonable belief” to use deadly force.

“Therefore, the use of deadly force by [the ATF agent] was in accordance with Arkansas law and was justified,” Jones stated.

In response, the Malinowski family attorney, Bud Cummins, argued that a search warrant should not equate to a home invasion. Cummins highlighted the brief 28-second interval between the knock and the breach, questioning its adequacy, especially for a “low-level violation.”

It also occurred when Malinowski and his wife were dead asleep. Who would be able to wake up, get suitably dressed and answer a door in 28 seconds from a dead sleep? And then come smashing through the door shouting. Most armed homeowners would respond with a gun in hand if they could even get to it that quickly, which Malinowski did. ATF agents knew were Malinowski worked, knew his work schedule and could have easily apprehended him as he showed up at work and then executed a search warrant on his home if necessary. Malinowski, as executive director of the Little Rock airport, was hardly a hardened criminal who needed to be taken down through a dynamic entry.

“A U.S. citizen was given 28 seconds before his home was forcefully invaded by armed government intruders,” Cummins said. “[Bryan Malinowski] was killed in front of his wife. This is far from over.” He also raised concerns about the Fourth Amendment, suggesting it demands more protection than what was afforded in this case.

Cummins also said this in his statement:

The state’s investigation didn’t attempt to make independent judgments about whether ATF violated the law when they broke down Mr. and Mrs. Malinowski’s front door. But that question should be a matter of grave concern for the rest of us.

Mr. Jones’s letter states armed agents waited a mere 28 seconds after knocking and before breaking down the Malinowski front door.

Legally, law enforcement must give the person inside a reasonable amount of time to come to the door to admit them voluntarily before forcibly entering. A search warrant is not supposed to necessarily be a license for a home invasion, especially during an investigation of such a low-level violation with such little risk involved in the search.

Read the complete statement from Jones justifying the shooting and Cummins’ statement, critical of the prosecuting attorney’s decision.


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