Video released Monday shows a U.S. marshal fatally firing on a defendant in federal court. The controversial footage only spans 24-seconds and is several years old.
Stemming from a 2014 racketeering trial in Salt Lake City, the video was released after multiple media organizations filed records requests and tangled with government attorneys over issues over the years. Finally, a federal judge agreed to the media’s transparency demands.
In the video, defendant Siale Angilau, then a 25-year-old member of the Tongan Crips, slowly rises from his seat, grabs his attorney’s pen and charges for the state’s witness. Someone in the background yells, “woah, woah, woah,” as Angilau deftly leaps onto the witness stand with his right arm poised to stop the state’s testimony forever.
He doesn’t quite make it, however, as the witness falls away from the improvised weapon and a still-unidentified U.S. marshal quickly unloads four rounds into Angilau’s body.
It’s chaos in the courtroom as law enforcement officers run toward the witness stand to secure their cargo. A woman screams. Angilau’s attorney takes shelter. Prosecutors don’t know what to do. U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell is quickly escorted away as another officer demands Angilou drop the pen–apparently still in his hand.
Angilau, who later died from his wounds, was one of 17 Tongan Crip members indicted in 2010 on charges of assault, conspiracy, robbery and various weapons offenses.
Previous defendants in the high-profile case were sentenced to 10-30 years in prison apiece. Angilau was the last to stand trial and, in the end–in a sense–he got off as a mistrial was declared. All he had to do was lose his mortal coil.
[image via screengrab]
Follow Colin Kalmbacher on Twitter: @colinkalmbacher
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