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House Judiciary Committee chair calls for investigation into Malinowski raid

The morning sun illuminates the U.S. Capitol on Monday.
J. Scott Applewhite
The morning sun illuminates the U.S. Capitol on Monday.

Congressional leaders are calling for more information about an early morning raid which led to the shooting death of former Clinton National Airport Executive Director Bryan Malinowski.

Malinowski was killed in a shootout with federal agents last month. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had attempted to serve a search warrant on Malinowski’s residence, which led to the shooting.

On Monday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH, and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to ATF Director Steven Dettelbach saying the committee is investigating the raid.

“The circumstances surrounding the raid, the subsequent death of Mr. Malinowski, and recent related rulemaking by the ATF raises serious questions about the weaponization of the agency against Americans,” the letter reads.

The letter says Malinowski’s death raises questions over whether ATF agents followed proper protocol in serving the warrant—specifically, whether or not agents used body-worn cameras. The letter says an executive order by President Joe Biden mandates body-worn cameras for ATF agents conducting a search warrant, but that members of Malinowski’s family have been told agents were not wearing cameras during the raid.

Jordan’s letter also questions whether agents complied with official guidance on “no-knock” warrants, where law enforcement personnel aren’t required to announce their presence before entering a property subject to a search warrant. The letter highlights a policy issued in September 2021 calling on federal law enforcement agencies to limit their use of no-knock warrants.

“ATF has not explained why it resorted to a no knock entry of Mr. Malinowski’s home when it could have peacefully executed the warrant while he was away from his residence,” the letter says.

The search warrant for Malinowski’s residence allowed for the search to be conducted between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The ATF has since released an affidavit detailing a months-long investigation into Malinowski’s alleged illegal firearm sales, including purchases made by undercover agents.

The ATF’s investigation alleged Malinowski made several illegal firearm sales at gun shows, where sellers are not required to conduct a background check on buyers. Jordan’s letter accuses the ATF of attempting to scale back the so-called “gun show loophole” by expanding “the universe of Americans who would be classified as a ‘dealer’ under federal law requiring them to obtain a license to become a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), subjecting them to a term of imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000, or both.”

The letter concludes by asking the ATF to provide all documents and communications relating to the planning and execution of the search warrant on Malinowski’s residence, as well as material relating to the ATF’s implementation of policies surrounding no-knock warrants and body-worn cameras.

The letter calls on the ATF to provide the information by May 6, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.

Copyright 2024 Little Rock Public Radio. To see more, visit Little Rock Public Radio.

Daniel Breen is a third-year undergraduate journalism student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.