Senators Say ATF Agents Weren't Wearing Body Cameras During Fatal Raid on Arkansas Home

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

The ATF's raid on Little Rock airport executive Bryan Malinowski's home was not captured on bodycam footage, according to U.S. senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman, because the agents weren't wearing body cameras when they executed a search warrant. If so, the senators say that would be a clear violation of agency policy


“The Department of Justice confirmed to us last night that the ATF agents involved in the execution of a search warrant of the home of Bryan Malinowski weren’t wearing body cameras,” Cotton and Boozman said in a joint statement. “We will continue to press the Department to explain how this violation of its own policy could’ve happened and to disclose the full circumstances of this tragedy.”

“Mr. Malinowski’s family and the public have a right to a full accounting of the facts,” the Republican lawmakers added. 

Bud Cummins, the attorney for the Malinowski family, noted that the ATF adopted a policy in 2022 that requires the use of body cameras during the execution of search warrants. 

“This policy provides parameters for the use of BWCs [body-worn cameras] by TFOs [task force officers] to the extent that a state or local law enforcement agency requires their use by its officers during federal task force operations,” states a Department of Justice memo dated June 2, 2022.

Cummins said the policy was created in response to the shooting of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville, Kentucky EMT worker who was killed as officers attempted to execute a search warrant.

Cummins has previously released doorbell camera footage showing one of the ATF agents covering up the camera lens with a piece of tape just before Malinowski's front door was breached. 

Malinowski's family believe that the agents never announced themselves as law enforcement, and the 53-year-old executive director of the Little Rock airport thought that his home was being invaded, which is why he grabbed a gun. Malinowski was shot in the head by one of the responding agents and passed away from his injuries two days later, while another agent was shot in the foot. 


Malinowski was under investigation for selling guns without a license, but Cummings says he doesn't know of any reason why the ATF agents would not have had body worn cameras when they conducted the raid at just before dawn on March 19th. In fact, Cummins told KATV that he's not aware of any reason why the agency would have conducted a full-scale tactical raid "with ten carloads of agents" on Malinowski's home to execute the search warrant. 

"I can't explain their conduct in any way. They're going to have to do that," the attorney stated. 

The DOJ disclosure, released late on a Friday afternoon, raises more questions than answers. Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin is among those seeking more facts about the raid on Malinowski's residence. 

I've got a few other questions. Are agents routinely ignoring agency policy when they're executing search warrants? How many other search warrants has the ATF executed this year using a tactical team, and were body-worn cameras ever used in conjunction with those raids? Were any of the local police officers who were a part of the team executing a search warrant wearing body cameras? Why did an agent cover the doorbell camera before breaking down the front door to Malinowski's home? 


The best person to answer those questions is ATF Director Steve Dettelbach, and he needs to be brought in front of the House Oversight Committee ASAP. With the ATF set to enforce its new and expanded definition of who is "engaged in the business" of dealing guns, millions of gun owners are potentially at risk of becoming the agency's next target of investigation, and an untold number of similar raids could soon be conducted against those who might have simply offered a gun or two for sale. Dettelbach needs to come clean about the agency's actions here, and Congress needs to hold his feet to the fire until he offers a full disclosure about the events in Little Rock on March 19th. 

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