A gang member on trial was shot dead when he launched himself onto a witness in an attempt to stab him.
Siale Angilau, a member of the Tongan Crips gang, was filmed grabbing a pen or pencil before running towards the witness, another gang member.
Court footage shows the witness sinking out of the way before a US Marshal shot Angilau, 25, four times.
The clip of the incident that took place in 2014 has only now been released to the public, following pressure from outlets — including the Salt Lake Tribune — after US District Judge John Dowdell dismissed a lawsuit brought by Angilau’s family claiming excessive force.
The judge wrote in a statement: ’The video completely contradicts the plaintiffs’ argument that Angilau stopped posing a danger within less than one second of launching himself over the witness stand while making a stabbing motion with a pen in his hand.”
In the clip, an officer can be heard yelling at Angilau: “Drop the pen, drop the pen out of your hand.”
Angilau’s family wanted a jury to see the video to see if the marshal used appropriate force after the FBI found the shooting was justified.
Their attorney, Robert Sykes, claims the witness was not in danger after he moved out of the way and the shooting was therefore unnecessary.
He said: “Those last three shots were all after he’s been shot once down on the ground in the back, and that’s the problem I have with this case. There was no necessity to use force.”
However, Judge Dowdell said that the marshal – referred to as Jane Doe – stopped the attack.
He said: “Angilau was in custody, but he essentially had escaped custodial control for those seconds during which he was executing his plan to assault the witnesses.
“His attack was stopped by the shots that Jane Doe rapidly fired, in less than one and one-half seconds.”
Angilau was rushed to the hospital with at least one chest wound and later died from his injuries.
He was in court after being one of 17 people named in a 29-count racketeering indictment that accused gang members of conspiracy, assault, robbery and weapons offences.
Angilau was also accused of assaulting two federal officers and brandishing a firearm.
His family have not yet decided if they will appeal the judge’s dismissal of their lawsuit.
(Yahoo News UK)