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Judge orders release of fatal SLC courthouse shooting video; rules against family

Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 18:55:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge has granted a summary judgement in the fatal shooting of Siale Angilau in a federal courthouse in Utah in 2014 and ordered the release of pixelated video of the incident.

United States District Judge John E. Dowdell granted the summary judgment Friday and dismissed the plaintiff’s excessive force claims, which ends the case unless the plaintiffs file an appeal.

Fox 13 News anticipates the pixelated video of the incident will become available Monday morning.

The lawsuit relates to the death of Siale Angilau, who was killed by an unnamed deputy US Marshal April 21. Authorities released audio from the incident in August of 2017.

According to court documents, video captured in the courthouse shows Angilau, who was in custody, leaving the defense table, picking up a pen, and rushing at a witness who was testifying.

Deputy Jane Doe fired four shots at Angilau, killing the man.

Angilau’s family argued that the use of deadly force was not permissible in this case and claimed that the deputy fired several shots into Angilau’s back after he was already incapacitated.

The judge disputed these claims, however, saying that the deputy and witness were boxed into a corner with no room to escape the attack and that the deputy had reasonable belief that Angilau was going to harm or kill the witness or other innocent bystanders.

While the family described Angilau’s crime as “mild” and said no one was at risk when the last three shots were fired, the judge writes “The word ‘mild’ simply cannot be used to describe the situation in which an in-custody defendant leaves counsel table, grabs a pen from the table, runs across the courtroom, and leaps over the witness stand making a stabbing motion to attack an adverse witness who is shackled and in close proximity to other innocent bystanders.”

The judge states the video of the incident disputes the claim that three of the four shots were fired after the threat ended, saying that Deputy Doe fired her weapon less than one second after Angilau began to cross the witness stand and that all four shots were fired in rapid succession without pause.

The judge states the video shows the first and last shots were fired “while Angilau was airborne postured to attack or was still in motion.” The judge also notes that the attack was “entirely unprovoked” and that the deputy had to make a decision in a split-second.

The judge states that the deputy reasonably believed Angilau would harm others and that several innocent bystanders were just feet away, and that “The plaintiffs have not presented any evidence that would establish the existence of a  genuine dispute of material fact regarding the reasonableness of Doe’s use of deadly force. That force was reasonable under the undisputed evidence of this case.”

The judge says the evidence is so one-sided in this case that the United States and the deputy are entitled to a summary judgment.

In a separate order, the judge ordered a release of pixelated video of the shooting. Judge Cleary initially ordered the pixelated version released, finding that the pixels obscured the identity of the deputy and others, however the deputy motioned for a stay on the release of that footage. Judge Dowdell found that the pixelated version of the video does not identify the deputy or other court or security personnel and ordered its release Friday.

While the video was ordered to be released Friday, Fox 13 anticipates it will become available Monday morning.