Feds want lawsuit over courthouse shooting dismissed

Posted at 4:40 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 18:40:11-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over a shooting that took place inside the federal courthouse here.

Meanwhile, the federal government is also seeking to block the public release of courthouse security video that shows the shooting of Siale Angilau back in 2014. Last week, the feds filed to have the video placed under seal so it would not be released as an exhibit in a lawsuit filed by Angilau’s family.

“The video in question discloses the positioning of security cameras within the courtroom and areas not covered by the camera view (blind spots), emergency evacuation procedures for judges and court staff, the positioning of court security personnel within the courtroom, and the emergency response procedures of court security personnel entering in and out of the courtroom,” wrote Leah Brownlee Taylor, a trial attorney for the Justice Department.


Angilau was a gang member on trial on federal racketeering charges in April 2014 when authorities claim he grabbed a pen and rushed a witness testifying against him. A U.S. Marshal shot and killed him in the courtroom which was filled with jurors, attorneys, clerks and the judge.

The federal government has repeatedly refused to release the tape of the shooting or the name of the U.S. Marshal who fired the fatal shot, denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from FOX 13 and other news outlets.

Robert Sykes, an attorney for Angilau’s family, said an autopsy showed Siale was shot four times — once in the side and three times in the back. He said his attempts to obtain the videotape have been blocked as well. He was allowed to view a grainy version of it, but has yet to obtain a copy as part of discovery in his civil lawsuit. Sykes questioned if the video isn’t being released because it doesn’t look good for the government.

“The videos are very damning to them,” he told FOX 13. “They show the shooting was unnecessary. At least shots two, three and four.”

Sykes said after a status hearing on Monday he was given a couple of days to respond to the government’s motion without having seen the video. So far, he said, the case is not on track for a settlement.