US House Judiciary Committee chair seeks details from ATF on airport director shooting

Apr 22, 2024, 3:53 PM | Updated: 6:24 pm

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Monday asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide documents and information about its raid at the home last month of the Little Rock airport director who died after a shootout with agents serving a search warrant.

Rep. Jim Jordan made the request as state police said it’s sending the findings of its investigation of the shooting to the local prosecutor to determine whether it was justified.

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Executive Director Bryan Malinowski died days after he was shot when ATF agents were were executing a warrant March 19 at his home in Little Rock. The ATF said agents returned fire after Malinowski shot at the agents, striking and injuring one of them.

An affidavit released after the shooting said Malinowski bought over 150 guns between May 2021 and February 2024 that he resold without a dealer’s license. In his letter to the agency, Jordan questioned whether ATF’s protocols were followed during the pre-dawn raid.

“Mr. Malinowski exercised his Second Amendment rights and was a firearms enthusiast,” Jordan wrote in the letter. “Even if, as ATF has alleged, Mr. Malinowski violated federal law, it does not justify ATF’s actions that ultimately lead to the use of deadly force.”

An ATF spokesperson confirmed it had received Jordan’s letter but said the agency could not comment further, noting the shooting was being reviewed by Arkansas authorities.

Arkansas State Police said it would forward the case file on its investigation Tuesday to the local prosecutor to determine whether the shooting was justified. Such investigations don’t include a recommendation, state police said, and wouldn’t review the agency’s tactics.

“We do not have the authority to address methods and tactics used or whether agency protocols and policies were followed,” Col. Mike Hagar, the head of state police, said in a statement. “Any administrative oversight of tactics would fall to that agency’s — in this case, the U.S. Department of Justice — internal review and is not part of the scope of what ASP is authorized to review.”

The Malinowski family has called the ATF’s tactics in the raid “completely unnecessary” and have said the airport director was awakened by the sound of his door crashing. An attorney for Malinowski’s family has said he was a gun collector and wasn’t aware he was under investigation for his reselling firearms at gun shows.

Malinowski’s death has prompted criticism from some Republican lawmakers in Arkansas who have called for more information from the ATF. Jordan’s letter comes days after Arkansas Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman said the Justice Department confirmed to them that agents executing the search warrant weren’t wearing body cameras.

Jordan’s letter seeks all documents and communications related to the planning and execution of the search warrant at Malinowski’s home. The congressman’s letter also seeks documents related to the agency’s implementation of a 2021 memo from the deputy attorney general related to “no-knock” warrants. The letter asked the agency provide the information by May 6.

National News

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US House Judiciary Committee chair seeks details from ATF on airport director shooting