Arkansas AG Wants Answers About ATF Raid

Townhall Media

The ATF raid on Little Rock airport executive Bryan Malinowski's home that left Malinowski dead and an agent wounded hasn't generated much national attention, but it's definitely on the radar of Arkanas Attorney General Tim Griffin. As the Second Amendment Foundation's Lee Williams shares on today's Bearing Arms Cam & Co, the AG has some serious questions about the circumstances of the raid, but so far he hasn't received any answers from the agency. 


“As someone who couldn’t be a bigger law enforcement supporter, when our government acts in a particular way that raises questions, we have an obligation to say something. My understanding, having looked at the ATF rules is that they generally require a bodycam when there’s a preplanned raid, right? Why? Well, because information from a camera helps fill the vacuum of conspiracy and all this other stuff. So, record it with a bodycam that’s required and then there’s policy that it shall be released as soon as possible,” Griffin said during an interview with local media Sunday.

The Attorney General acknowledged that journalists, attorneys and citizens have raised significant questions about the raid and ATF’s choice of tactics — questions the ATF has yet to answer.

“Look, this is bizarre that there’s just been silence. I understand there’s a state investigation going on with it, but there’s nothing about this footage that should stop it from being released,” he said.

Williams says at this point we don't even know if any bodycam footage actually exists since the ATF has been officially mum about the raid since it took place last month. Malinowski's family believes that the agents who burst through his front door didn't announce themselves beforehand, and say that Malinowski likely believed they were home invaders, not law enforcement, when he responded to the intrusion by arming himself. 

The Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division is leading the local investigation into Malinowski's death, but Griffin wants to hear from the ATF himself. Arkansas legislators are also sounding off about the raid, and are planning a Thursday press conference to demand ATF release any and all bodycam footage. 


“We want the truth,” said Representative Matt Duffield of Russellville, who represents the 53rd District. “We want the body cam footage. His family deserves to see it. The people of Arkansas deserve to see it. We must learn what happened.” 

... More than twenty members of the Arkansas Legislature will join Representative Duffield, Senator Mark Johnson, and Representative Marcus Richmond for the press conference. 

The press conference will begin 15 minutes after both chambers adjourn on the second-floor rotunda of the State Capitol.

In addition to the question about whether agents announced themselves, Williams says there are serious concerns about why the ATF search warrant was executed by SWAT-style tactical team when Malinowski could have been served at his office in the Little Rock airport or as he left the home to go to work. Williams says another option would have been for the agents to surround the home and then call Malinowski out of the residence; an idea we've also heard suggested by retired ATF deputy assistant director Pete Forcelli. 

The bodycam footage, if it does exist, won't address the underlying questions about the planning and execution of the search warrant. For those answers, Williams suggests that Congress should bring ATF Director Steve Dettelbach to Capitol Hill to explain the decisions behind the raid. 

Williams says he's also deeply concerned that we're going to see more raids like this when the ATF's new rule regarding who is "engaged in the business" of dealing firearms takes effect in a few weeks. Malinowski was under investigation for selling dozens of firearms in the months before the raid, allegedly purchasing multiple handguns and re-selling them in some cases less than 24 hours later, but under the ATF's expanded definition of who is "engaged in the business" almost anyone who simply offers a gun for sale from their private collection could be deemed by the agency to be an unlicensed gun dealer subject to investigation and prosecution. 


Even if the allegations against Malinowski were factually correct, the ATF didn't need to launch a full-scale raid on his residence to serve the search warrant. I'm glad to see that Griffin and lawmakers in Little Rock are trying to raise attention about Malinowski's death and the ATF's actions. Let's hope they're able to get some answers as well. 


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