A deranged gang member was shot to death by a U.S. marshall after he lunged at
the witness stand brandishing a pencil. Video of the incident was released Monday.
The brief clip shows Siale Angilau, a 25-year-old member of the Tongan Crips,
suddenly standing from his seat next to his attorney in a Salt Lake City, Utah
courtroom. Angilau then grabs a pencil from the desk in front of him and lunges
toward the witness.
“Whoa!” someone shrieks.
The witness scurries to safety and Angilau is brought down by four rapid shots fired
by an unnamed marshall.
“Drop the pen. Drop the pen out of your hand,” another unidentified officer yells at
The video clears law enforcement from blame. In addition to releasing the video,
U.S. District Judge John Dowdell dismissed an excessive force lawsuit filed by Angilau’s family.
“The video completely contradicts 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 hand,” Dowdell wrote.
“Angilau was in custody, but he essentially had escaped custodial control for those
seconds during which he was executing his plan to assault the witness,” the judge
wrote. “His attack was stopped by the shots that Jane Doe rapidly fired, in less
than one and one-half seconds.”
The family attorney countered that Angilau was only armed with a pen and his
intended victim had already scrambled away to safety when he was shot. Their
argument falls apart when the video is examined.
The entire incident was over in 30 seconds. When the officer fired her gun at
Angilau, he was rushing toward innocent people with the intent to hurt them. A
pencil or pen can do a lot of damage.
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